How Villarreal will prepare to face United

Thursday 20 May 2021 13:30

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery will make changes for their last La Liga match of the season, with the Europa League final against Manchester United firmly on his mind.

The Yellow Submarine are due to face Real Madrid on Saturday and that game will have a massive influence on the title race, with the Bernabeu club hoping to topple leaders Atletico Madrid. 

Villarreal are seventh in the table and have guaranteed a place in next season’s Europa Conference League at least, but a victory against Real Madrid could earn them a place in the Europa League. 

Despite that incentive, former Arsenal boss Emery has suggested he will rotate his squad and prioritise next Wednesday’s final against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United in Gdansk, Poland.


 “The order of priority is [that first comes] the game we play in the competition in which we are in," Emery told Spanish journalists at a press conference on Wednesday. 

“La Liga is the one that marks our consistency and the objective that is to be in Europe. We already ran out of options to [finish] among the top four. 

“Then there is the Europa League and La Liga, which is the only one that gives us access to this. And then there is the Conference League, which should not be demeaned because it is a European [competition].

“We have the option of playing for a title that is important like the Europa League. The ambitious objective is given by the Europa League and the important goal is given by La Liga.

“On Saturday we will have an eye on the Manchester United game. It is important that we play on Saturday and I think we deserved it because we are in a final representing Spanish football.”

Villarreal's final league match of the season was originally scheduled to take place on Sunday. After some debate in Spain, a number of La Liga fixtures were moved back to Saturday at 17:00 BST. 

It has been reported the kick-off time was determined in order to avoid the Eurovision Song Contest, which begins at 20:00 BST and demands a huge television audience on the continent.

“We will compete on Saturday against Real Madrid,” said Emery. “It’s not in our hands, but we will try and get a good result. It’s fair that they’ve changed the match to Saturday. Having a day more to rest is important, and we deserve it because we’re representing La Liga in Europe.”


Emery has hinted that he is optimistic about having Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze available for the final, after he sustained an injury in their semi-final second leg against Arsenal.

Juan Foyth may miss the weekend meeting versus Real Madrid, but both he and Chukwueze could return to the squad against United.

Countdown to the final: