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Author Topic: Unai Emery - our manager  (Read 782184 times)

Offline Smithy

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7215 on: December 07, 2023, 07:46:28 AM »
One thing I liked in his interview on Prime was how everyone was congratulating him for dominating the game, and he mentioned the possession stats and how they still had more possession than us, but he was happy to have reduced the gap. 

We won the game, convincingly so, a statement victory against the 'best team in Europe' and even in the immediate aftermath he's looking a room for improvement.  I absolutely love the man.

You have to think Wes and Nas must be looking at all this and thinking we're on the verge of something very special if we can find a way to add another couple of quality members to the squad in January.

Offline SaddVillan

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7216 on: December 07, 2023, 09:09:07 AM »
From The Athletic

HOW ASTON VILLA MADE MAN CITY
LOOK UTTERLY ORDINARY FOR 90 MINUTES

Fifteen years to the day after Unai Emery first encountered Pep Guardiola, he finally managed to overcome him in the most dominant of ways.

Aston Villa produced a performance for the ages on Wednesday evening and it should be considered their magnum opus since returning to the Premier League in 2019. It was a victory as domineering and deserving as there has been against Manchester City in recent memory. Quite simply: no one does what Villa did to them.

Even though Guardiola’s declaration of Villa as title contenders was premature afterwards, he had just watched his treble winners being completely outplayed and out-hustled.

City barely landed a punch. They registered two shots all game, the fewest ever by a Guardiola side and the joint-most shots faced (22) by an opponent. The second of City’s two shots came in the 11th minute. The 1-0 scoreline was merciful on Guardiola and could not have been more polarising to his first meeting with Emery in 2008, when Barcelona, eventual treble winners, won 4-0 against Valencia.

“Thierry Henry, I remember…” smiled Emery at Tuesday’s press conference, recalling his hat-trick. “You analyse my matches very well. But when I start remembering and thinking about my past, I stop as a coach.”

It served as the beginning of 13 games between the two, nine resulting in Guardiola wins and the other four being draws. In other words, Emery had never beaten Guardiola. Until now.

The tables were turned emphatically on Wednesday evening. Villa Park was caught in a frenzy and furore, testing its old foundations as Emery strode towards the tunnel at the final whistle.

Post-game celebrations after a landmark 50th game in charge were typically low-key, but there was a buoyancy in his step. Villa’s supporters were at their loudest and most exuberant. Shouts were hoarse from deep and long bellows. Emery had a toothy grin and hugged his close friend and director of football Damian Vidagany, who was waiting for him.

Vidagany was Emery’s press officer at Valencia in 2008 and like others close to Villa’s head coach, shares the school of thought that nights like Wednesday are a by-product of the Spaniard’s dedication and expertise.

“The Premier League has 20 of the best 50 best managers in the world,” said Vidagany. “Unai is close to the top level that marks Pep Guardiola. It’s a matter of time to get there for him. I’ve never seen anyone in my life work as hard as him. This is leadership. He also has a good heart.”

Despite history and records falling against them — with Villa having won only seven per cent of all Premier League fixtures against City — the theme of discussions between Emery and players’ before the match centred on being the “protagonists”.

In lengthy analysis sessions, recently running up to an hour and 15 minutes, Emery stressed the necessity of retaining the ball for prolonged spells, enabling his side to control the tempo before then cutting through City’s pressure from the front. And as ever, his players brought into the plan. “He’s naturally confident but he loves Emery,” said one source close to a key player in Villa’s dressing room who, like others, spoke anonymously to protect relationships.

Villa had reason to be bullish tactically. It is 10 months since their last home defeat (against Arsenal), a moment Emery retrospectively regards as a turning point. He held meetings with players, preaching that seizing control in matches would lead to the concession of fewer goals. More pertinently, he demanded an increase in approach and expectations. Fourteen games and as many wins later, Villa have equalled their longest-winning home streak in top-flight history. Expectations now are at an all-time high.

“(Emery) has been amazing,” said match-winner Leon Bailey. “His way of doing things is different. He knows exactly what he wants. Day in and day out, he knows what he’s doing to help us get three points.”

Emery knew the importance of Villa not solely reducing themselves to a counter-attacking threat. He wanted to create overloads centrally, selecting four archetypal central midfielders in a box shape that would lock on man-to-man against a City side without the suspended Rodri and a specialist midfielder.

There was a soft launch of the approach three days earlier at Bournemouth, in which the system used against City was unfurled in the second half. Emery has spoken about trialling different tactical systems during games, due to four fixtures in nine days affording scant time on the training pitch. Instead, messages needed to be explained while watching video clips inside the auditorium at Villa’s training ground.

Bailey’s role was instrumental in trialling formation. He was asked to stay high and wide on the right but, with Youri Tielemans playing slightly deeper nearby, make darting runs inside — similar to Ollie Watkins, who would stretch play in the opposite channel.

As encapsulated in his goal, Emery gave licence to Bailey in particular, encouraging him to dribble at speed and towards Josko Gvardiol. Within a touchline microcosm where the cogs in both managers whirred, Bailey’s usage was part of a broader plan to offset City’s rhythm.

“Sometimes at home, we are watching him and thinking ‘Wow, what a player’,” said Emery.

“He even plays better at home because he feels the love from the fans,” Bailey’s stepfather Craig Butler told The Athletic, watching from back home in Jamaica. “He’s very motivated by appreciation and how you feel about him — you’ve just seen that.”

As it turned out, Villa won possession in the final third 13 times against City, the most ever by an opposition team against Guardiola. They were shaken and stirred to dizzying levels and to the point where Erling Haaland was forced to clear inside his box while defenders slipped and slid in panicked scrambles to atone for errors.

“It was all about getting on the front foot tonight,” said one source close to the dressing room.

“We did the high press and being at home, we are really successful,” said Emery. “We have to be organised doing it and against City too, trying to recover the ball from their players is difficult. But we were very organised and did a fantastic job.”

While Emery carried out post-match media duties, members of his backroom team joined in with players’ dressing-room celebrations. It was controlled but jubilant, with team photos being taken before being congratulated by their families after they had made their way down from the player boxes.

This was a night to savour. Emery’s Villa have reached new heights and delivered the club’s greatest, most optimal performance of recent times — and they did so against Europe’s best team.

Offline rooboy316

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7217 on: December 07, 2023, 11:15:54 AM »
At the risk of sounding like I'm pining over a former lover, I think Dean Smith gets a tiny smidgen of credit for the performance last night. He was responsible for sowing the seeds that started a change of mentality at the club. In the 30 years I've been watching this team, we've always come out against the really top, title-contending teams on the back foot, even before the game started. It was always a batten down the hatches mindset, hold on for as long as possible, don't concede, and maybe, just maybe, sneak a goal in. And then as soon as the first whistle blows, sit deep, 10 behind the ball.

One of the many things I liked about Smith was the positive way he set up. Even when we went up in games, he wouldn't park the bus. Results like the 7-2 against Liverpool would never happen with any other manager in charge - we came out trying to win that game, and everything came off. Obviously most of the credit goes to Unai for the transformation, and he's get us to a point where we go into any game believing we can win. But Dean Smith is where the shift in mentality started after decades of lacking belief.

Offline Sexual Ealing

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7218 on: December 07, 2023, 11:35:52 AM »
Yep. As you point out though, last night was all Emery.

Offline Risso

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7219 on: December 07, 2023, 11:44:09 AM »
If we're being charitable, then all of our recent previous managers have played a part (however small) in where we are now, even Bruce with the purchase of McGinn. Smith got us up and kept us up and brought in the likes of Konsa, and Gerrard's profile helped get Kamara. None of them were remotely as good as Emery though, who looks like somebody asked AI to create the perfect manager. Brilliant, hard-working, likeable without being soft, with absolutely no ego whatsoever.

Offline SamTheMouse

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7220 on: December 07, 2023, 11:52:25 AM »
I did read something along the lines of Smith saying he was pleased to see the spine of his team doing so well now.

He did a great job for us and laid the foundations that Emery has built on.

Emery though. What he's doing is just crazily impressive. He and his coaching team are proper elite, world class. All but two of the team that started last night were playing under Gerrard!

Offline Chris Smith

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7221 on: December 07, 2023, 11:58:13 AM »
Smith built a house when we were homeless, Emery is turning it into a palace.

Offline aj2k77

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7222 on: December 07, 2023, 12:14:49 PM »
We simply have to win something this season.

Offline Garyth

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7223 on: December 07, 2023, 12:29:03 PM »
Quote
There was a soft launch of the approach three days earlier at Bournemouth, in which the system used against City was unfurled in the second half. Emery has spoken about trialling different tactical systems during games, due to four fixtures in nine days affording scant time on the training pitch.

I thought this was interesting. Even when we sometimes look a little disjointed, there’s a bigger scheme at play.

Offline hipkiss92

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7224 on: December 07, 2023, 12:31:40 PM »
If we're being charitable, then all of our recent previous managers have played a part (however small) in where we are now, even Bruce with the purchase of McGinn. Smith got us up and kept us up and brought in the likes of Konsa, and Gerrard's profile helped get Kamara. None of them were remotely as good as Emery though, who looks like somebody asked AI to create the perfect manager. Brilliant, hard-working, likeable without being soft, with absolutely no ego whatsoever.

And generally in Smith's time, we always turned up against the top 6, even in defeat. Losing 3-2 at Arsenal away first season, then winning next 3 in a row. Going 1 up at Spurs first game back in PL. Beating Utd away. Beating Chelsea at home last game of lockdown season etc. Even League Cup Final against City we weren't far away from taking them to extra time.

Offline LeeB

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7225 on: December 07, 2023, 12:31:51 PM »
At the risk of sounding like I'm pining over a former lover, I think Dean Smith gets a tiny smidgen of credit for the performance last night. He was responsible for sowing the seeds that started a change of mentality at the club. In the 30 years I've been watching this team, we've always come out against the really top, title-contending teams on the back foot, even before the game started. It was always a batten down the hatches mindset, hold on for as long as possible, don't concede, and maybe, just maybe, sneak a goal in. And then as soon as the first whistle blows, sit deep, 10 behind the ball.

One of the many things I liked about Smith was the positive way he set up. Even when we went up in games, he wouldn't park the bus. Results like the 7-2 against Liverpool would never happen with any other manager in charge - we came out trying to win that game, and everything came off. Obviously most of the credit goes to Unai for the transformation, and he's get us to a point where we go into any game believing we can win. But Dean Smith is where the shift in mentality started after decades of lacking belief.

It's still half Deano's team, his legacy is only burnished further with what's happening now.

Offline Drummond

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7226 on: December 07, 2023, 12:34:24 PM »
He said, ahead of this game that he was “going to try and reduce the distance between them and us”.

Thank you, Unai.

He increased it! It was 1 point at kick off and is 2 points now! 😁

Offline OCD

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7227 on: December 07, 2023, 01:30:19 PM »
Compare and contrast the way Emery was with O'Neill last night compared to when Dean Smith was working for the West Ham game. Much warmer towards Smith.

Offline WarszaVillan

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7228 on: December 07, 2023, 01:38:26 PM »
One thing I liked in his interview on Prime was how everyone was congratulating him for dominating the game, and he mentioned the possession stats and how they still had more possession than us, but he was happy to have reduced the gap. 

We won the game, convincingly so, a statement victory against the 'best team in Europe' and even in the immediate aftermath he's looking a room for improvement.  I absolutely love the man.



It's the same in recent press conferences when he's been asked about the run of home wins and he's responded that we did lose against Everton in the cup.

Offline PeterWithesShin

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Re: Unai Emery - our manager
« Reply #7229 on: December 07, 2023, 01:43:14 PM »
Only 2 players that started last night were signed under Emery. Which shows how good he is and is also a good sign of our overall transfer policy under the new owners.

Emery - Torres, Tielemans
Smith - Emi, Konsa, Watkins, Luiz, Bailey
Gerrard - Digne, Carlos, Kamara
Bruce - McGinn

 


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