Unai Emery became the most successful manager in the history of Europa League after his team Villarreal beat Manchester United to win the Europa League title.
Unai Emery won his fourth Europa League title on Wednesday to become the most successful manager in the history of the competition. Emery’s side Villarreal defeated Manchester United 11-10 on penalties as the teams were locked at 1-1 by the end of 120 minutes to win their first European trophy. The Spanish coach has won the trophy three times previously with Sevilla between 2016 and 2018. Edinson Cavani’s second half strike canceled out Gerard Moreno’s 29th minute goal before Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Ruli became the hero in the penalties.
The Yellow Submarines were brilliant throughout the tournament winning 11 of their 14 games and scoring 28 goals. “In the Europa League we have been absolutely impeccable. Since the very first moment. Some days we were coming at 6am to the stadium to prepare a game for the Sunday. All of this makes the journey (worthwhile),” Emery told a news conference.
“We were talking about enjoying these moments. In the end you are proud to reach the title (decider) but if you don’t win, you are sad. Winning is another step, an important step ahead. We do this profession for these moments. We have been able to give joy to many people.”
Villarreal beat Unai Emery’s former team Arsenal in the semi-finals to reach their first major final. The Spanish coach was sacked in November 2019 after not meeting the club’s expectations. He took Gunners to the Europa League final in the 2019, but lost to Chelsea. Later he took charge of Villarreal in July 2020.
“I insist it is not a sports revenge at all. I try to enjoy every moment, winning and losing. I try to create new circumstances, so everywhere I have been, even in England at Arsenal, I have learned a lot, met many people, other cultures and football,” he said.
“At the end of that story was professional frustration, but some other doors opened then. Winning today is a satisfaction, but for my club today, as it was when I was at Sevilla.
“When I was at Arsenal we played a Europa League final and could not win but it is a process, from that game I learned a lot to win this one maybe.”
Emery had double delight on Wednesday as the victory ensured them a spot in next season’s Champions League as well. Since Villarreal hadn’t qualified for Europe’s elite competition after finishing seventh in La Liga this was their only chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
He has successfully transformed a low budget team which is always known to punch above their weight and consistently reach semi-finals of top competitions into champions.