Unai Emery backs ‘brutal’ approach from Villarreal for tough Liverpool task

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Unai Emery has warned Liverpool that Villarreal will have to be “brutal” in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final.

The two sides reconvene in Spain on Tuesday to fight for a place in the Champions League final. It is advantage Liverpool at present after their 2-0 win at Anfield in the first leg last Wednesday.

Finalists of the competition in 2018 and winners the year after, Liverpool are hoping to once again have the chance to compete for what would be their seventh European Cup.

Most will have them down as favourites thanks to their superior position in their respective domestic league, besides their advantage from the reverse fixture.

However, Villarreal manager Emery still has ambitions of reaching the final after winning the Europa League last term. Although aware it will require the maximum effort, he has urged his supporters to get behind their efforts for a turnaround.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Unai Emery said: “Tomorrow we have to play a perfect game.

“We want the fans to help us live it and enjoy it. The feeling of belonging is very important.

“Tomorrow the predominance will be yellow. We are here and we want to play in the final.”

Emery may have to adapt his approach compared to the first leg, but has a few ideas of how they can go into the tie with a different mindset.

He added: “First, we play at home, with our fans. Second, tomorrow we have to win. Third, we have to defend, but there are many ways to defend.

“Tomorrow we have to play a tremendous defensive game, brutal, different from Liverpool and, from there, to also be able to find something that we didn’t find there, which was our game.”

Unai Emery, Villarreal, May 2021.
Unai Emery, Villarreal, May 2021.

That said, Emery does not know if his side will be able to pull off what would be a stunning comeback. To stand any chance, they must maximise their confidence and togetherness.

Emery explained: “We need confidence and to be better than a team that in many games has few defeats. We have to live this moment with all our people at every level – fans, family and friends – against a great rival.

“Logically, for us to be here, the team has made a great effort, but to pass this would be excellence. So, we work to be better. I don’t know if we’ll be able to.”

It is not just as a collective that Villarreal will need to perform. Emery is hoping for some individual brilliance to inspire their chances.

He said: “If tomorrow the player of the match is again a Liverpool player we will surely be out. But if he is one of us, we’ll be there with options (to win).”

Unai Emery reveals Villarreal team news

In the first leg, Villarreal were unable to call upon influential striker Gerard Moreno. However, Emery is more optimistic about his involvement this time around.

He confirmed: “Gerard Moreno will surely be able to play tomorrow.”

However, there are a couple of concerns elsewhere for Emery. Wingers Arnaut Danjuma and Yeremi Pino, and former Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno, are either doubts or unavailable.

The ex-Arsenal manager added: “Tomorrow we will do the last training session. It is true that today Gerard has trained with the group and we will see tomorrow to what extent he feels good tomorrow. We do not take any risks with him.

“Danjuma has also had some discomfort. He has not trained today with the group and tomorrow morning we will see if he is in a position to play as well.

“Yeremi, it is true that he has an injury that will make him miss out. He and Alberto are low.”

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The article Unai Emery backs ‘brutal’ approach from Villarreal for tough Liverpool task appeared first on Teamtalk.com.

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