Villarreal boss Unai Emery wary of Real Madrid’s threat

Villarreal boss Unai Emery has spoken about the threat Real Madrid possess ahead of locking horns with them on Saturday afternoon at El Madrigal.

Los Blancos currently sit fourth in La Liga, four points behind league leaders Real Sociedad and ten clear of bottom-placed Huesca.

Madrid have also been below-par in Europe, sitting third in Champions League Group B ahead of Inter but trailing Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Villarreal, by contrast, are flying high, second in the table and just two points behind La Real.

Emery took over at the Yellow Submarine during the close season and is looking to build on their fifth-placed finish last season, aided by his extensive managerial experience as well as strong summer recruitment.

Emery, whose previous job was at Arsenal, wasn’t flippant about their chances, however.

He knows that Madrid still have a lot of firepower in their squad and, what’s more, are dangerous when they have a point to prove.

“They won’t be more vulnerable,” Emery told Marca. “To climb the table they need to win, and four days later play Inter in another important game. The Real Madrid that plays us and Inter will be the best possible.

“There will be forced changes due to injury or COVID, but it will still be the best Real Madrid. And when all of their starting eleven plays at 100% for 90 minutes it’s very difficult to beat them.”

Villarreal have won five of their first nine and only lost once, and look well-placed for a positive campaign.

One negative for many Villarreal fans, however, is the lack of game-time given to exciting talent Takefusa Kubo, on loan from Madrid. Emery urges patience.

“Kubo has a process,” he said. “One one hand, you have the Villarreal road and on the other you have the Kubo road. We all want Villarreal to benefit from Kubo’s development and for Kubo to benefit from Villarreal’s at the same time.

“The relationship of young players with their more experienced teammates helps them to grow, acquire confidence and improve their performance.

“A good example of this is the relationship between Pau [Torres] and [Raul] Albiol. That he plays with Albiol makes him feel more secure and confident, and they’re a centre-back pairing that has a very good relationship on the pitch.

“Villarreal has been investing in their academy for a long time and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t understand that responsibility. I feel privileged to be part of this philosophy that Villarreal have.”

Featured image courtesy of the Daily Cannon.

Tags La Liga Real Madrid Unai Emery Villarreal Zinedine Zidane