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Unai Emery gives verdict on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United

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Villarreal coach Unai Emery does not believe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under any immediate pressure at Manchester United.

United have lost three of their last four games, exiting the Carabao Cup with a home reverse to West Ham before Aston Villa won 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League.

Solskjaer’s tactics have been heavily criticised this month and United’s second Champions League group stage match against Villarreal has become more significant after their opening defeat to Young Boys in Bern.

Emery inflicted a first final defeat on Solskjaer’s United in the Europa League final in May and the Spaniard has experienced the pitfalls of managing a major English club at Arsenal, where he lasted less than 18 months.

“I’ve lived that when I was in Arsenal. Solskjaer has a very great endorsement and respect,” Emery said. “Last year, he managed to enter the Champions League and reached the final of the Europa League.

“This year, he has many challenges ahead and it is true that he has had some negative results, but I do not think that an intelligent direction will change their option about him [because of] those results.

“I’m not afraid of Manchester United. We respect them. Okay, respect is important. If you lose respect you may lose.

“Manchester United is the clear favourite. It was also the favourite in the final. We played a competitive match but they also had the options. They lost against Young Boys, it was the favourite versus the less favourite but there was a surprise. If you lose respect the other team may take advantage of that.

“Tomorrow, Manchester will be the best Manchester, they have to prove their power. What Solskjaer has done for Manchester United as a player and a coach, we have to respect them., they are the favourites.

“Individually, they have very good players – attackers like Cavani, Martial and Cristiano Ronaldo. These are three attackers who could play in any team. We don’t fear them but we have a high respect for the opponent.”

Emery insisted the group stage encounter is bound to be different from the Europa League final after United signed Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer.

“This will be a different match,” Emery added. “There may be certain characteristics and individual characteristics that will be still there but will change.

“It will be a proud moment to be at Old Trafford against the group favourites and one of the greatest teams in the world.

“That team from the final also has Sancho, Varane and Ronaldo so if they were very good then they have improved even more. It will be a beautiful match.”

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