SIR ALEX FERGUSON challenged Unai Emery to win the Champions League rather than the competition’s poor relation, the Europa League.

The Spaniard won the title three times consecutively with Sevilla between 2014 and 2016 — but for the fiercely driven Scot Sir Alex, that is not enough, something he made plain to Emery’s face.

Credit: Reuters
Credit: Reuters

Ferguson prided himself on getting United to win the Premier League title, something he achieved 13 times at Old Trafford.

But the 77-year-old  has attempted to stir Emery by convincing him to win the Champions League at a Uefa Coaches’ Forum in Switzerland, where elite managers are invited to meet and share ideas.

Speaking to Soccer AM, Emery said: “One day we were in Nyon for the coaches meeting and I was defending a lot the Europa League, and he – Ferguson – asked me: ‘But really Unai, do you not prefer to win the Champions League?’

“Yes of course! He didn’t need to say it!

“But at that moment I can be happy and I can defend the Europa League because also I think the Uefa people improve a lot this competition.

“But really, really the first is the Champions League – okay.”

Ferguson himself had to use Uefa’s secondary European competitions as a stepping stone to the big one, winning the Champions League in 1999 and then again in 2008 with Manchester United.

But first he won the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983 with Aberdeen, before repeating the feat with United in 1991.

Emery added that he is, rightly, proud of his victories.

The former PSG boss added: “My first trophy was the Europa League with Sevilla, against Benfica in Turin. It was amazing,” he said.

“As a player it was very difficult to achieve some trophies, when I was starting as a coach I was thinking, ‘I want to progress, I want to improve, I want to move ahead’ and when the first title arrived it was [breathes sigh of relief].

“And really after continuing winning some more and really I am here and my objective is to achieve some important things in the football first, and after is to achieve titles.”

Source link