Aston Villa and Unai Emery: The Difference in Approach
来源:黑白体育
2023-12-01 02:27:13

Unai Emery's approach at Aston Villa diverges from his time as Arsenal manager. Unlike Arsenal, Villa embraces Emery's football obsession and allows him to forge a network of individuals he wholly trusts. His close friend and football director, Edu Gaspar, acts as Emery's confidant and deals with most off-field affairs. This approach has created a harmonious relationship between Emery, the club's board members Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, and their holding company V Sports, showcasing the mutual trust between them.

Emery's dedication to improving his team tactically is evident at Villa. He rarely focuses on matters outside his circle and the football realm. Emery often spends late hours at Villa's training ground, filled with ideas and designing long training sessions. While this might irk the players, especially in the days leading up to matches, Emery spends two to three hours practicing formations. Unlike at Arsenal, where Emery's network was unstable and the board constantly changing, Villa has always aimed to build around Emery's style of managing the club.

Emery's preference for a managerial role is evident in his approach, as he has no desire to directly partake in transfer negotiations or oversee daily club operations. Instead, he is interested solely in the outcome of the deals. Before joining Villa, Emery's first phone call was to Edu Gaspar, who initially served as his personal assistant, enabling him to manage these aspects off the field. With the arrival of football operations director Richard Montgomery in the summer, he and Gaspar handle transfer negotiations and act as intermediaries for players and agents, bridging different departments together. It is widely believed that Emery lacked such personal relationships at Arsenal, while Villa's intention was to establish a club around him from the start.

Within an unstable administrative structure at Arsenal, the divisions among different departments continued to widen. Sources reveal that if Mikel Arteta had directly succeeded Arsene Wenger and attempted to implement the same regulations, it would never have been successful. This indicates the lack of unwavering support for Emery at Arsenal. Despite the dismissal hurting him, Emery receives high praise from nearly everyone associated with Arsenal.

Villa recognizes the importance of Edu Gaspar and values him highly. There is a feeling that had Emery had someone like Gaspar at Arsenal, he would still be the Gunners' manager today. Similarly, at Paris Saint-Germain, Gaspar could have helped manage internal relationships. As Emery was appointed head coach, Villa brought in six staff members who were either familiar to Emery or had previously worked with him. More Spanish-speaking individuals have joined the organization since. Former sporting director John Lang has stepped away from daily operations to assist the owners in formulating a multi-club-model plan.

With Emery's integration, Villa revamped its existing structure and pursued new goals. This included recruiting Alfredo Benito, Emery's former teammate, for a global technical role, as well as Pablo Rodriguez, another former teammate, as a scout. Officially, Gaspar's role shifted from being Emery's personal assistant to football director. Together with their close associate Richard Montgomery, who previously worked with them at Sevilla, they form a power trio responsible for significant decisions.


Emery views Pep Guardiola's structure at Manchester City as being most conducive to successful management. Those close to Emery believe he is on par with Guardiola when it comes to assessing the world's best coaches. They also point out that Guardiola, like Villa's head coach, has influential friends in the boardroom, such as City's CEO Ferran Soriano and football director Txiki Begiristain. "What we need to do now is let Emery make sporting decisions, let Montgomery and him choose players, and provide them with a strong support like a fortress, giving them time to develop this project," said Gaspar in October. "Because ultimately, the difference between success and failure lies in time."Sources close to Villa players reveal that Emery does not engage in conversations with team members unless they have participated in matchday games. Some players who have been absent due to injuries have only had brief conversations with Emery. During pre-season, Emery had extensive talks with young players, asking about their plans, background, and even their parents' occupations. The intense pre-season training, which surpasses players' usual routines, was fully accepted by Villa's players and staff. However, at Arsenal, this approach was met with a different reception, particularly the lengthy video analysis sessions. "For Gerrard, training is just training," said an unnamed Villa player. "But Emery is very meticulous, just like he was at Arsenal."Club captain John McGinn has praised Emery's mindset, his desire to win, and his absolute devotion. This mentality has been instilled in the team. McGinn mentioned how now, even if they fall behind in matches, they no longer crumble as they did before. Villa players have benefited greatly from Emery's lengthy video training sessions. In contrast, opinions at Arsenal differ. Emery's reputation in England has been restored, and today, four years after leaving Arsenal, his prospects have never been brighter. He has learned the right lessons but refuses to change his principles.