Unai Emery admits game-plan didn’t work, Liverpool result could have been worse

Villarreal had far surpassed expectations to reach the Champions League semi-finals this year. In the first leg of the semi-final against Liverpool it looked as if for the first time in the competition, the level had surpassed them.

Manager Unai Emery made no attempt to hide the fact that things hadn’t gone well for his team. The feeling of impotency with the ball in the face of Liverpool’s fierce press was reflected in Emery’s comments, as he attended to his press duties.

“In the semi-finals, you have to go up against these very powerful opponents and the surprise factor was diluted for us . It was a match that we wanted to win but weren’t able to; they didn’t let us take control of the game, they didn’t let us run…”

“Today was resisting as much as we could defensively in order to have a chance in the second match and that we did do. It will be different because we will come up with different things.”

Even so, Emery was keen not to become too defeatist about the match. As he told Marca, it could have been worse.

“We know they are favourites, that they are better, but also that we can compete with them. Today we didn’t do that and we can’t say we did. But sometimes the negative results must be put in perspective.”

Defender Pau Torres was singing from the same hymn sheet as his manager after the match. Both Torres and Emery mentioned that Villarreal would play differently at the Estadio La Ceramica.

“Today could have been worse, we didn’t deserve anything better either. We have to try to ensure that it is totally different there, that we impose what we want. Today we had a plan and the idea didn’t come off. Even taking corners we were bad.”
With just one shot all game, an off-target one, it’s hard to argue with Emery’s analysis. Star striker Gerard Moreno missed the first leg with injury, but should he be back for Tuesday’s fixture, it could go a long way to increasing both the ball retention ability and the threat that Villarreal pose.
Tags Champions League Liverpool Unai Emery Villarreal
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