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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Felix Keith

Unai Emery reveals plan to "avoid" Arsenal issues as he outlines Aston Villa challenge

Unai Emery says his experience at Arsenal will help him in his new Premier League challenge at Aston Villa.

Emery started life in the West Midlands in perfect fashion with a 3-1 win over Manchester United on Sunday, his first match in charge since replacing Steven Gerrard. The Spaniard had only taken charge of his first training session on Wednesday but wasted little time in making an impression in front of the Holte End faithful.

The 51-year-old took the decision to leave Villarreal to return to England three years after he was sacked by Arsenal. Emery spent 18 months with the Gunners, winning 43 of his 78 games in charge, before he was dismissed in November 2019 after a run of seven games without a win.

The Arsenal experienced bruised Emery, but after a successful spell with the Yellow Submarines, in which he won the Europa League and reached a Champions League semi-final, he feels ready to make his mark in England.

"I am better prepared to face a new challenge in the Premier League,” he told Marca. “I already have a year and four months of experience in this league.

“I think my first year at Arsenal was nice. It was broken by some things that I have identified that I am now going to try to avoid. I have always had an internal objective of having a new opportunity and coming back better prepared.

“And I think that at Villarreal I have gained a continuity that has made them call me back from England. It's more of a challenge than a rematch. I had to accept it as something very professional."

Unai Emery has made an immediate impact with Aston Villa (Visionhaus/Getty Images)

HAVE YOUR SAY! Will Unai Emery be a success with Aston Villa? Comment below.

Emery turned down the opportunity to take over Newcastle earlier this year and has admitted it was difficult to leave Villarreal after such a successful two and a half years. But he knew Aston Villa was the right choice and believes he can qualify them for European competitions in the years to come.

“I need to feel that there is a professional challenge,” he said. “I was very happy in Villarreal fulfilling professional goals. There were successes, but going out is something professional where I value the challenge I have in the future with the one who knocks on my door. I always attend to the one who knocks on my door and then I listen or not.

“Villa makes me return to the Premier League [and] challenges me to take steps in such a competitive League. I can build a team to return to Europe."

Emery now has two more games before the World Cup intervenes. Villa travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup third round on Thursday before facing Brighton on Sunday in their final match for five weeks.

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