Unai Emery hails ‘amazing’ Aston Villa support as he kicks off Villans career with Man Utd win

Unai Emery during a match Credit: Alamy
Unai Emery during a match Credit: Alamy

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery insists his side’s 3-1 win over Manchester United is only the “first step” with a lot of work to be done.

Emery replaced Steven Gerrard as Villans head coach, with his first two matches in charge both against United.

It is a huge test, but he has a good record against the Red Devils.

He never lost against them in the Premier League during his time as Arsenal boss and lifted Europa League with Villarreal after beating them on penalties.

It was a memorable day for young midfielder Jacob Ramsey, who set up the opening goal, scored one himself and also netted an own goal.

After the match, Ramsey admitted that it has been tough going at Villa Park but has said Emery came in and gave everyone a huge confidence boost.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks with the old gaffer getting sacked,” he said. “There has been a lot of tactical work this week and the game plan worked.

“When the new gaffer came in he said it was a clean slate. He gave us a lot of confidence and belief and I think it showed on the pitch.

“Manchester United have got top players and we knew we were going to be on the back-foot for periods.”

On his goal, Ramsey added: “Ollie [Watkins] is good at taking on players and he has put it on a plate for me.”

Emery was high in praise of the home crowd on a big day for Villa.

“The supporters were amazing supporting us and the players were great with the plan,” he said.

“First step is take confidence, start with energy and the supporters supported with their response.

“We have the players with the good skills. The way we played the 90 minutes we can be optimistic but only first step and we have to work a lot to keep improving.”

The Spanish head coach discussed his tactics for the visit of Manchester United, revealing that he looked to expose the space they leave in behind.

“I think the players showed us they were hungry, they were feeling good emotions, thinking about our match today [in training] and they did a very good job,” Emery said.

“They played in their positions and I want them to feel good playing with their characteristics and skills.

“The shape for me is not so important, but we tried to use the spaces where Manchester United maybe let us do our job.

“Here at home, the supporters help the team a lot and the energy was amazing. They transmit to us and the response is playing in good spaces, with a good rhythm. I think the players feel so good at home and I want to use this result [as momentum].”

Next up for Villa is a trip to Old Trafford, where Erik ten Hag and his players will look for revenge in the Carabao Cup.

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