"This is where we have been the happiest": Emery ahead of European debut
The Villareal manager spoke about the path ahead in the UEFA Conference League
Some managers are synonimous with a particular competition. Like Sir Alex Ferguson and the Premier League or Carlo Ancelotti and the Champions League. In the case of the UEFA Europa League, the name is Unai Emery. The former Valencia and Sevilla manager has won the title four times, more than anyone else. However, this time he'll have to try his hand at the third tier of European competitions, as he's set to debut with his Villareal in the UEFA Conference Europa League.
Speaking ahead of the Submarino Amarillo's debut in the competition, Emery was keen to remind everyone that nothing should be taken for granted: "Winning is very difficult, [...] but it is going to be a beautiful path. The first goal we set for ourselves is to be first in the group stage and we did set that for ourselves. We have respect for a competition that was won last year by a coach like Mou and a big team like Roma".
"You have to be able to maintain consistency. The whole squad is highly motivated. This will be the main difficulty along the way", added Emery, who insisted he enjoys the challenge, "Managing the squad's resources well motivates me as a coach".
Ever the preparation artist, the former Arsenal manager knows everything about his next rival: "Lech Poznan won the league in their country last season and has played in the Champions League qualifiers. [This season] in the league they started badly but they are recovering after winning their last three games. They have good players on both wings, they play well and they are used to winning in their league".
For his part, Unai Emery knows what he wants from his own Villareal side: "We want to create an identity, strengthen our style, be demanding in the search for good performance. We must be able to get excited on this path through Europe. Because Europe is Europe. These two years have made us live very beautiful moments and moments of good play. Where we have been the happiest".