The Yellow Submarine travel with several players called up from Villarreal B, a situation brought about by injuries, the African Cup of Nations and the ever-present danger of covid-19.
“The team is more important than ever, taking into account the players we’re missing,” Emery said as carried by Marca.
“We’re missing players through covid-19 as well as the African Cup of Nations and injury. We’ve had to call up players from the B team and they have to perform.
“In a situation like this, it’s necessary to believe in the team. Everyone must be prepared. On Monday we played a good game and in Gijon it’s going to be the same.”
Villarreal dazzled on Monday, hammering Levante 5-0 at home. They’re undergoing a renaissance of sorts sparked by the return of Gerard Moreno from injury after a tough start to the season.
They’ve won four game on the bounce in La Liga, and sit just four points behind defending champions Atletico Madrid in fourth place – a spot that would guarantee them the Champions League.
That’s not to say that they’re out of this season’s edition of Europe’s premier competition, of course. They’re looking forward to taking on the mighty Juventus next month.
But first their focus is trained on Sporting. The Asturian outfit sit 12th in Segunda heading into the game, and Villarreal will hope to progress and go on a cup run. They’ve never won the Copa.