Unai Emery reveals why he returned to the Premier League after Arsenal’s struggles

Unai Emery has opened up about why he chose to return to the Premier League with Aston Villa after struggling in his last spell in England with Arsenal.

The Spaniard, who enjoyed success with Sevilla before enduring a mixed spell with Paris Saint-Germain, was appointed as Arsene Wenger’s successor at the Emirates Stadium in 2018.

The Gunners missed out on a top-four finish and lost the Europa League final to rivals Chelsea in his first season, but a poor start to the 2019/20 campaign saw Emery sacked and replaced by Mikel Arteta.

Emery joined Villarreal the following season and finished Arsenal on their way to a fourth Europa League win, leading the Yellow Submarines to their first major trophy.

After rejecting an advance from Newcastle United in 2021, Emery sealed a return to England in recent weeks after being appointed as Steven Gerrard’s successor at Aston Villa.

Speaking to Marca, Emery revealed his ambitions to guide Villa into Europe, while also showing he is better prepared to tackle the Premier League this time around.

Things didn’t work out for Unai Emery at Arsenal / Craig Mercer / MB Media / Getty Images

“Every step I am taking has been taken from a professional point of view. Wherever I have gone, I have been carrying a piece of heart, [as a] Players and coaches. I have always been clear about the steps I was taking,” he said.

“When we achieve goals, we progress. I need to feel that there is a professional challenge. I was very happy to achieve professional goals at Villa Real. There were successes, but going out. There is a professional thing where I value my challenge. Future with whoever knocks on my door I am always present with whoever knocks on my door and then I decide whether to listen or not. I am

“[Joining] Villa makes me come back to the Premier League, challenges me to step up in such a competitive league. I can make a team to go back to Europe.”

He added: “I am better prepared to face a new challenge in the Premier League. I already have one year and four months of experience in this league.

“I think my first year at Arsenal was good. It was broken because of a few things that I’ve identified that I’m going to try to avoid now. I’ve always had an internal goal to do that. To get a new chance and come back better, and I think at Villarreal I’ve got a continuity which is why they’re calling me back from England. It’s more of a challenge than a rematch. I really like it. Had to accept it as a professional thing.”

Emery’s first match as Aston Villa boss came on Sunday, in a 3-1 defeat to Erik ten Haeg’s Manchester United.

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