'Unbelievable' - Former Aston Villa manager makes Arsenal and Man United claim about Unai Emery

Unai Emery managed Arsenal in England before returning to take charge of Aston Villa. He is admired by a Champions League winning player. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)Unai Emery managed Arsenal in England before returning to take charge of Aston Villa. He is admired by a Champions League winning player. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Unai Emery managed Arsenal in England before returning to take charge of Aston Villa. He is admired by a Champions League winning player. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
One former Aston Villa manager is an admirer of the work Unai Emery has done at Villa Park.

Former Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert always envisaged Unai Emery being a success at Villa Park despite the perception of him during his time with Arsenal.

Emery has Villa on the verge of qualifying for a Champions League spot with a Spurs slip-up and a positive result needed to ensure their place at European football's top table. Villa are in the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League and are hoping to overturn a two-goal deficit against Olympiacos to reach their first major European final since 1982.

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The Spaniard has earned some praise from someone who knows what it’s like to manage the expectations at Villa. Paul Lambert was manager of Villa from 2012 to 2015 and led them to two consecutive 15th-placed finishes.

"I always thought that Unai Emery would be a good success for Villa because of what he's done,” said the 54-year-old to Betway.

“He wasn't a bad manager at Arsenal and everybody ridiculed him.

“This is a typical British reaction and you can't do that. Saying that nobody understands him and all that sort of nonsense. That never washes with me.

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"You look at the guy's record, what he'd done in Sevilla before, it’s unbelievable.

"What he's done in his career and people think he isn’t a top manager just because of his time at Arsenal. It's the same like David Moyes at Sunderland.

"People think that David Moyes is a poor manager. He's been unbelievable at West Ham.

"So it doesn't surprise me how well Unai Emery has done, if Aston Villa can get into the Champions League, then it's brilliant for them and the manager.

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"He's so happy at the moment and it is a huge club in Villa."

Emery has found himself linked with some of the biggest jobs in world football because of the work he has done so far since succeeding Steven Gerrard. Erik ten Hag is under an immense amount of pressure at Manchester United, and Lambert believes that they could consider looking to the former Sevilla and Villarreal boss to replace him.

He added: "Unai Emery could be a target for Manchester United, but I’m not one to speculate when someone is still in the job.

"It wouldn’t surprise me if other clubs come in for Unai Emery, but he might be happier there and enjoy it.

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"Erik ten Hag is getting criticism for left, right and centre at Manchester United which is a bit bizarre at times. He's trying his best at United and they’ve got an FA Cup final that they can try and win.

"I think criticism is aimed at Ten Hag and then everybody jumps on the bandwagon. The guy is being kicked from pillar to post when he’s just trying to manage the club the best he can. Only he will know what’s going on."

Emery signed a contract extension with Villa in late-April, and is with them until the conclusion of the 2026/27 season. The club plans to sit down with Emery to extend his stay even further which would make any buy-out of his contract an expensive one.

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