How many trophies has Unai Emery won? Villarreal boss profiled – from masterclass, good ebening to Liverpool
Unai Emery will be aiming to continue his dazzling record in European competition this evening when his Villarreal side host Liverpool in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final. He will hope his team can come back from their 2-0 defeat last week at Anfield.
Villarreal host Liverpool this evening with kick off scheduled of 8pm BST.
The ex-Arsenal manager has already secured one continental title during his stint with the Spanish club, and will be hoping that his side can repeat the upset caused by their impressive quarter-final victory over German giants Bayern Munich.
For their part, Liverpool head into the clash off the back of a Merseyside derby win that kept their hopes of a historic quadruple alive and kicking, but will be wary of slipping up against a team who currently sit seventh in La Liga – especially considering Emery’s exemplary record in Europe.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Spanish coach…
Who is Unai Emery?
Unai Emery Etxegoien was born in the Basque region of Spain in November 1971.
Both his father and grandfather, Juan and Antonio respectively, were professional goalkeepers, while his uncle, Roman, played as a midfielder.
For his part, the younger Emery graduated from Real Sociedad’s youth academy as a left-sided midfielder, but struggled to make an impact on the first team and was limited to just five La Liga appearances.
Subsequent stints at Toledo, Racing Ferrol, and Leganes would prove more fruitful for the Spaniard, who eventually hung up his boots at the age of 32 after a knee injury ended his career with Lorca Deportiva.
Which clubs has Unai Emery managed?
Emery started his managerial career at Lorca Deportiva in 2004, securing promotion to Spain’s Segunda division for the first time in the club’s history at the first time of asking.
The Spaniard repeated the feat in his next job, taking UD Almeria up to La Liga for an unprecedented stint in the top flight.
A subsequent appointment by Valencia gave Emery his first high-profile role, and the up-and-coming coach led the club to three consecutive top-three finishes before departing for a brief, ill-fated spell in Russia with Spartak Moscow.
After six months at the helm, Emery was sacked by the board and returned to his home country, taking over at Sevilla.
Over three-and-a-half years, the 50-year-old would enjoy unparalleled success in the Europa League, and would ultimately do enough to convince PSG to appoint him as their new manager in 2016.
Despite lifting a number of trophies in the French capital, Emery took the decision to leave the club with a year remaining on his contract, moving instead to Premier League outfit Arsenal.
After a trophyless 17 months, the manager was relieved of his duties in north London.
Since July 2020, Emery has been in charge at Villarreal, guiding the Spanish club to the Europa League title last season.
Over the entirety of his time in the dugout, Emery has recorded a win percentage of 53%.
How many trophies has Unai Emery won?
Over the course of his managerial career, Emery has won 11 major trophies.
By far, his most successful tenure came at PSG, where he lifted a Ligue 1 title, two French Cups, two French Supercups, and two French League Cups.
Emery has also enjoyed an admirable amount of success in the Europa League. The 50-year-old has won the competition on four occasions – three times with Sevilla in consecutive years from 2014 to 2016, and once with current club Villarreal in 2021.
What has Unai Emery said about beating Liverpool in the past?
Emery was at the helm for Sevilla when they beat Liverpool 3-1 in the 2016 Europa League final.
In August 2020, he took part in the popular Masterclass series for the Coaches’ Voice, in which managers break down their tactical approach to certain matches.
Over the course of a detailed and fascinating insight into how his side set up to beat Jurgen Klopp’s almost unrecognisable starting XI (Roberto Firmino and James Milner are the only two Liverpool players from that evening’s side still at the club), Emery emphasises the importance of controlling the ball in central areas to disrupt the Reds’ midfield three, the significance of being able to build attacks from the heart of defence, and the need for directness in wide areas.
Emery also speaks about the shift in mentality his side had to implement having been a goal behind at half-time.
You can watch the Spaniard’s full Masterclass here.
What has Unai Emery said about ‘Good Ebening’ trolls?
Despite speaking a good level of English during his tenure with Arsenal, Emery’s strong Basque accent often led to mockery from some quarters.
One of the most frequent examples was the manner in which fans would parrot his way of saying ‘good evening’. As such the phrase, ‘good ebening’ became synonymous with the Spaniard.
Reflecting on how his struggles with a second language, and the subsequent taunts from supporters, affected his time in north London, he told The Guardian: “I had a decent level [of English], although I needed to improve.
“When results are bad it’s not the same. You lack the linguistic depth to explain.
“And take ‘good ebening’: OK, it’s ‘good evening’, but when I said ‘good ebening’ and won it was fun; when we were losing it was a disgrace.”