Unai Emery knew he would have to suffer to knock Arsenal out of Europa League
Unai Emery admits he knew Villarreal would need to "suffer" to dump former club Arsenal out of the Europa League.
The Spanish club will face Manchester United in this month's final after edging a 2-1 aggregate win over Mikel Arteta's side, who were unable to overturn the deficit in a feeble 0-0 draw at the Emirates on Thursday night.
It proved a close affair right until the final whistle, with Villarreal clinging onto their advantage in the dying minutes.
And Emery, who was sacked by Arsenal in November 2019, said after the stalemate: "I knew the final was in Gdansk but I didn't want to hear about it.
"We had a very good qualifying phase and we had to beat a favourite to get to the final, and we had a very serious tie against Arsenal. We knew we'd suffer today, but we've managed to have some less tense moments.
"I've tried to enjoy and live these moments. We know that if we scored a goal we'd be safe but if not, we'd suffer.
"They've had tight matches at home, so we had to play a serious match so that their virtues wouldn't appear. That's the toughest job in football."
Emery spent close to a year-and-a-half in the Arsenal hot-seat before he was handed his P45 and replaced by Arteta 18 months ago.
But since joining Villarreal in July of last year he has transformed his fortunes, and he will now look to add a fourth Europa League to his collection on May 26.
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"I am satisfied and proud. Satisfied with the job that we have done and proud of the project that we have here at Villarreal," the Spaniard added.
"The president had been here for over 20 years, they have been in the Champions League semi-finals, three Europa League semi-finals but lacking that final step.
"I think we are going to be up against the favourites in Manchester United and they have shown their potential throughout the campaign in this competition.
"However, we have knocked out one of the teams that was one of the favourites, we are aware of how difficult it is going to be but we are proud to prepare and compete in that kind of game.
"Manchester United are a great side and we are going to have to work hard to nullify some of their strengths."
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