Unai Emery Calls Focus on La Liga after UCL Draw

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By Martin Graham | 21st Mar 2022

Villarreal manager Unai Emery called for focus on LaLiga after his side were drawn against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final stages.

Unai Emery’s side pulled off the shocker of the Champions League season when they defeated the Old Lady at the Allianz Stadium 3-0 to secure a 4-1 aggregate win and progress to the quarter finals of the tournament.

Like that fixture was not heart-wrenching enough for fans of the Yellow Submarine, they were drawn against the beastly Bayern Munich for the quarter finals, and will be hosting the first leg of the tie.

The club, however, are excited to be in this stage of the competition, as the last time they progressed past the round of 16 was in the 2008/09 season. Manager Emery has called for calm and for a recentering of their focus to LaLiga.

The club face Cadiz on Sunday for a chance to close the six-point gap between them and the top four. A loss could be detrimental to their top six hopes, and former Arsenal manager Emery has asked that the club turn their attention to the league.

“Opportunities like the one on Wednesday come from a previous process,” Emery said in his pre-match press conference.

“I took on a team in Europe, so to be able to play in these competitions you have to put one more stone, and this is the League.

“The League is what gives us the options of being in Europe and Cádiz is very important”.

Emery speaks on Bayern Munich draw

Emery also noted that his club have nothing to lose in the competition and will go out on April 5 to enjoy the tie, while keeping their fingers crossed for an upset like last Wednesday’s.

“We are here and that is already a sample of the level that exists and the difficulty of all the rivals that are here.

“Any rival would have been complicated. The draw was going to be tough, beyond the preferences that you may have,” Emery said of the draw.

“Now to enjoy the tie from the competitive side and to have an answer.

“Bayern says a lot just to hear the name, but we are going to do everything we can to enjoy it.”

If Villarreal pull off another upset in that fixture, they will have another strong opponent in Liverpool/Benfica to tackle, and if they scale that hurdle, either of Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester City or LaLiga defending champions Atlético de Madrid await them on their road to a first ever Champions League title.

Danjuma on the radar of Serie A giants

Elsewhere, Emery may be facing a battle to keep his Champions League top scorer, Arnaut Danjuma, in the club next summer.

The Nigerian-born Dutch forward ended up in Bournemouth from Club Brugge a few years ago due to the deal between AC Milan and the Belgian club failing to go through.

Michael Jarman, Danjuma’s agent, spoke on the matter after Villarreal beat Juventus with one of his client’s goals.

“The Rossoneri wanted to buy him in the transfer market in January (2019), when he was at Bruges,” he told Calciomercato.it. “But the two clubs did not find an agreement on the price tag.”

Reports have come out that AC Milan is looking for a winger in the summer and will consider Danjuma as a transfer target.

Jarman was asked if his client could move to the Serie A at any point in his future. “A future in Serie A? Danjuma is one of the best talents of his generation. For me he belongs to the category of Mbappe, but fate wanted us to know him only now,” he said.

“For the future everything is possible, in Italy there are fantastic clubs and obviously Danjuma will want to win trophies in his career. But as mentioned, he is so happy at Villarreal and with Emery that nothing else matters at the moment.”

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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