Villareal emerged victoriously over Manchester United in the 2020/21 Europa League final on Wednesday night and the managerial king of the Europa Unai Emery was on hand to put things in place to ensure that his side wrestled the silverware from the Red Devils successfully.
Manchester United were favorites going into the game on paper but found themselves a goal down in the first half by a Gerard Moreno goal in the 29th minute.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men had to fight hard and come from behind to draw level through Edinson Cavani in the 55th minute.
One would have thought it would be all Man United from them on, but this was not the case as the Yellow Submarines from Spain were determined to win the trophy and held on till penalties.
Meanwhile, this competition has been wholly dominated by Spanish teams and one Spanish manager in recent years and he is Unai Emery. The competition could as well be named the Emerypa League or the Unai Emery League.
The Spaniard has an amazing record in this competition starting from his time at Sevilla where he won the trophy for three successive seasons namely; 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16.
However, he lost scandalously in the Europa League final in the 2018/19 season against Chelsea in his time as Arsenal boss. The Blues won 4:1.
Regardless, he has returned to glory in the competition by helping Villareal land their first major trophy. Both sides took the game seriously as 22 penalty strikes were needed to separate the sides. The only miss was made by Man United goalkeeper Da Gea.
It was an eventful one as it was the longest penalty shootout in the final of a major European competition. The previous record also involved Manchester United and was 14 kicks in the 2008 UCL final between the Red Devils and Chelsea.
The Red Devils won 6:5. It should be noted that only 5 penalties have gone past 10 kicks in the history of major European competitions.
Villareal manager Unai Emery is now the manager with the most wins in the Europa League/UEFA Cup with 4 titles to his name. The victory on Wednesday night ensured that he surpassed Giovanni Trapattoni who was on 3.
Emery is the man for the Europa! If you need to win the Europa League, maybe you should hire the Spaniard.
The Spaniard is just 49 years and still has many years to go. Therefore. it’s likely that he’ll have more wins but we would like to see if he can exert such dominance in the UEFA Champions League in the future.
Regardless, we are looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the Spanish boss.
For Man United fans, this is your 4th season without any silverware. The trophy drought years are beginning to accumulate for a club of United’s standard and something has to be done.