The manager had no interest in discussing his former employer, who he will go up against in the Europa League semi-final
Unai Emery has downplayed potential personal drama ahead of Villarreal’s Europa League semi-final date with Arsenal, the club that sacked him two years ago.
He said his past with the Gunners was less important than the task of leading his current team to a shock trophy in the competition and earning the corresponding bid to next season’s Champions League.
Villarreal have yet to lose in the Europa League this season, and they finished off a 3-1 aggregate quarter-final win over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday, as Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno each found the net in the space of seven minutes in the first half to effectively put the tie to bed.
What has been said?
“We are happy. It was a challenge, but the trajectory in the Europa League is being very serious and we are responding at a higher level every time,” Emery said via Marca. “We have taken the game where we feel more comfortable. We have [managed] it both here and in Zagreb.
“It is a challenge, something that Villarreal has already done. Breaking the barrier of the semi-finals is the great challenge. The idea of reaching the Champions League through the Europa League is very important.
“When I signed here this was [part of the process]. You have to live each moment. We are receiving people’s dream. The dream increases. My past at Arsenal is less important.”
When is the semi-final?
Villarreal will host Arsenal on April 29 before heading to London for the second leg on May 6.
The Europa League final, should they get that far, is scheduled for May 26.