Unai Emery explains why Aston Villa job was a no-brainer, as former manager cites the fans when outlining what might happen
Unai Emery has explained why he had no choice but to accept Aston Villa’s offer, and a former manager referenced the fans when firing a stark warning to the Spaniard.
The 50-year-old was confirmed as Steven Gerrard’s successor on Monday night. Unai Emery has unfinished business in England after his previous stint in the country at Arsenal failed to ignite.
However, that ill-fated term has proved very much the outlier in what has been a trophy-laden career in recent times.
Indeed, Emery guided Sevilla to three successive Europa League titles between 2014-16 before moving to PSG.
He lifted seven major trophies in his two years in France before moving to Arsenal. After struggling to make his mark at the Emirates upon succeeding Arsene Wenger, Emery returned to Spain where he found further joy in Europe, winning the Europa League once again in 2021.
However, when Aston Villa came calling, Emery simply could not say no. Explaining why in a press conference in Spain on Tuesday, Emery said (via Sky Sports): “Here [at Villarreal] I have felt something of heart again, but the profession is within me.
“This one [Aston Villa], I have considered that I had to take it, as a sports challenge, as a different project.
“It is a personal and professional decision. I left home at the age of 24 and opened myself up to the professional world of football with all the consequences.”
Emery will officially start his new role on November 1 once a work permit has been finalised. Fabrizio Romano recently detailed how much Villa are paying to buy Emery out of his Villarreal deal.
The reaction to Emery’s appointment has been near-universally positive. There has been the odd dissenting voice, though very few things come to pass without some negativity in modern times.
However, former Villa boss, Paul Lambert, has fired a warning to Emery about what will happen if he struggles to turn their ship around.
Emery warned: “the fans demand success”
Lambert – who managed Villa between 2012-15 – cited high fan expectations when claiming the sack will await if Emery isn’t a roaring success. Villa currently sit 15th in the table despite a commanding 4-0 win last time out against Brentford.
“I think Villa had to appoint him quickly, their league position suggests it’s a little bit of hot water there at the minute,” the Scot told Sky Sports News.
“But he’s a brilliant manager, no matter what you say. I know he had a little sticky time at Arsenal, but what he’s done in Europe has been phenomenal really, so he’s a good, experienced manager.
“I think it’s huge for the club because there’s a big expectancy level at Aston Villa. The fans demand success and if you don’t get it and you don’t win games, you know exactly what’s going to happen to you.
“He knows the game, he’s not a novice, and he’s won big European titles. I think he’s a good manager, but again you’re going to have to look at the players to get you results.
“I think he’ll stabilise the squad, but the club has to help him by eventually strengthening it.”
Another observer who reckons Villa have made the right choice is Jamie Carragher.
Aston Villa perfectly positioned for Unai Emery – Carragher
When speaking on Monday Night Football just prior to official confirmation of Emery’s appointment, Carragher explained why it’s a “great appointment.”
“I think it would be a fantastic appointment,” said Carragher on Monday evening. “I’m a huge fan of Unai Emery. He’s had a lot of success with teams just below the elite, almost fighting against the biggest clubs.
“It didn’t go quite so well with him at Arsenal but if you look what he did at Villarreal – Europa League winners and you look at how far they pushed Liverpool in the Champions League.
“He was brilliant at Valencia, always getting them into the Champions League places.
“I don’t think he’s the type of manager for Barcelona and Real Madrid – and I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way – but for a Valencia and an Aston Villa and for clubs who are trying to compete against teams who have more money, he gets his teams really organised and he’s a super coach.
“Maybe not for the biggest names on the planet but, for Aston Villa right now, I think he’d be a great appointment.”
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