Former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has claimed that Villareal’s win over Manchester United in the Europa League last season was “revenge” against Sir Alex Ferguson according to The Independent, after the legendary manager directed digs towards the Frenchman in his autobiography when recalling Manchester United’s 8-2 defeat of Arsenal in 2011.
Coquelin, who is part of the Villareal side facing Liverpool in this season’s Champions League semi-finals made his debut for Arsenal in that infamous and humbling defeat at Old Trafford in 2011, as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men put eight past a sorry Arsenal side. Though the entire Arsenal team that game was far off the pace and even further from their best, Sir Alex Ferguson singled out Francis Coquelin in his autobiography, citing that the player was “completely out of his depth”, before adding “I had hardly heard of him and he barely played again.”
Since then, the trajectories of Manchester United and Coquelin couldn’t be further apart, as the Frenchman has enjoyed a Copa del Rey victory with Valencia in 2018-19, as well as a vengeful defeat of Manchester United in last season’s Europa League final.
Coquelin told RMC Sport, according to Get French Football News: “It was a bit of revenge because when I made my Arsenal debut we lost 8-2 at Old Trafford and Sir Alex Ferguson criticised me a bit in his biography, so it was a nice little turnaround to win the Europa League against them.
He added: “I think he was in the stands as well, so lifting the trophy in front of him was nice. I was looking for him, he must have seen me.”
Coquelin will now have a chance to topple yet another English giant this season, in the form of Liverpool, but will face an uphill battle as his side look to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final.