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Unai Emery’s Euro “magic” ruthlessly exposes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s biggest flaw

Unai Emery showed his magic touch again on another night of European drama.

Four times now the ex-Arsenal boss has lifted the trophy, three times with Sevilla, now a fourth with Villarreal and they might as well rename it the Emery League.

Emery has an incredible psychological edge in this competition but also showed he has got more tactical nous and know-how than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a tense battle of wills as they saw off Manchester United.

It was the most dramatic finish, an incredible shoot-out and yet Villarreal held their nerve to defy the odds once again to beat one of the true giants of European football.

The former Arsenal boss lifted the Europa League trophy for the fourth time after his Villarreal side beat Man Utd in Gdansk

Emery just knows what it takes to win this trophy because he did it three years running with Sevilla and Villarreal won their first ever major final which is an incredible feat for a club which comes from a town with just 50,000 people.

Solskjaer did not get his substitutes right, they were poor and never found their rhythm yet Sevilla just got the job done – even if no-one can quite understand how they did it.

And that is the difference. Emery has a winning touch, Solskjaer has yet to win a trophy as a manager at Old Trafford and it will now raise bigger questions as to whether he ever will.

Emery drills his teams, they are not known for their pressing or possession and can sometimes lull opponents into a false sense of security, just as they did with United.

United took their opponents too lightly, that is what happens with Villarreal – and they got horribly punished.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's wait for a trophy goes on after suffering penalty heartache in Poland
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wait for a trophy goes on after suffering penalty heartache in Poland

What did Ole Gunnar Solskjaer get wrong during the Europa League final? Comment below

But there is also a method to Emery’s European dominance. They have not lost a Europa League game all season and have put European results over domestic success as they finished seventh in La Liga.

When Emery won his last trophy with Sevilla by beating Liverpool in 2016, they did not manage a single away win in the league that season because everything was focused on Europe.

Now the rewards were there again and United were punished as they suffered more heartbreak.




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