Villarreal are facing arguably the biggest tie in their history against Liverpool in the Champions League. Reaching the semi-finals for the second time in their history, once again it is English opposition that block their way to the final.
Directing the Yellow Submarine is of course former Arsenal manager, Unai Emery. Frequently mocked during his time in England, Emery beat Manchester United to the Europa League last season and has masterminded two shocks on the way to facing Liverpool by knocking out Juventus and Bayern Munich since leaving London.
That affects their chances of beating Liverpool, Emery told The Independent in his pre-match press conference.
“The surprise factor goes down; the first tie against Juventus the surprise factor was maybe more important. Against Bayern it was important, because we managed to find our own performance and we could use our weapons against another powerful rival.”
“That’s not present any more but every team who is in the semi-final deserves it, we know they will respect us.”
“We have been able to compete against big teams like Juve and Bayern, so they know it will be a tough game and will have to be 100 percent and give it all at Anfield. Of course they will feel favourites as that is natural. It is an even higher difficulty than Juventus and Bayern Munich.”
Jurgen Klopp spoke well of Unai Emery in the build-up and Emery was equally as complementary, commenting that Villarreal need to be perfect in order to make it through.
“What I see gives me huge motivation to try to play the perfect game in order to beat the best Liverpool. They have built a Liverpool team like their coach, with that smile, that energy.”