Villarreal boss Unai Emery believes that in order for his team to beat Liverpool, they’ll need to be at their very best and need to try to play the perfect game of football against the favourites. The Reds beat Benfica over two legs to face shock semi-finalists in Villarreal, who beat Bayern Munich.
When Villarreal were picked against Juventus in the Round of 16, few gave them a chance despite their performances in the group stages. Unai Emery’s side finished second in their ground, behind Manchester United, and proceeded to stun Juventus by producing a second-leg comeback win to win the tie 4-1 on aggregate despite a 1-1 draw in the first-leg. They continued riding that shockwave by beating Bayern Munich over two legs by 2-1 although the Yellow Submarines only drew the second leg.
It has stunned and shocked many that Unai Emery’s side have managed to reach this far despite sitting seventh in the La Liga but few expect them to go any further after being picked to face Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals. The Reds are chasing after a potential quadruple and Emery admitted that his side needs to produce the “perfect game” to beat Jurgen Klopp’s team. He also believes that the “surprise element” is gone especially after they beat both Juventus and Bayern Munich.
“The surprise element has declined. In the first tie against Juventus, the surprise element was there with us not being favourites and also going 1-0 down, which was important in terms of Juventus not reacting. Against Bayern I think it was important too, enabling us to play from deep positions [in the second leg],” Emery said, reported the Guardian.
“That’s not the case any more: if you’re in the semi-final it is because you deserve it. And what we have heard from Liverpool, the things they have said have been very intelligent, the respect they have shown – they know us, they know that it will be hard, the potential we have. They’re favourites but with respect.
“We have to analyse, prepare, produce the best version of ourselves, let the wave carry us. We have to try to get the perfect game: we know this is a semi-final and that we’re playing the biggest favourite, but we believe in ourselves and we want to have our place on the pitch. It’s not a case of finishing and being satisfied [to be here], no.
“We play a team that under normal circumstances could be better than us but we have our mechanisms, our response, and we have to seek ways to beat them, to compete. Above all, we’re going to live it,” he added.