Unai Emery proud to almost beat Chelsea in Super League final

Villarreal boss Unai Emery reveals ‘pride’ at taking his side to the brink of winning the Super Cup and insists he ‘cannot blame the players for anything’ after penalty shootout loss to Chelsea

  • Unai Emery says his Villarreal side did themselves and LaLiga proud in the final 
  • The Spaniards were defeated by Chelsea but only after going to penalties 
  • Kepa Arrizabalaga came on for Edouard Mendy for their UEFA Super Cup clash 
  • The Spaniard saved two penalties to help them lift the trophy against Villarreal 

Unai Emery revealed his pride after coming a whisker away from defeating Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup final.

The Spaniard’s plucky Villarreal side could only be bettered via a penalty shootout in Belfast on Wednesday night, following a Thomas Tuchel masterstroke with his substitutes.

Chelsea’s German boss opted to bring Kepa Arrizabalaga from the bench to replace Edouard Mendy as the game spilled over into spot kicks, and was soon rewarded after the former Bilbao man saved the decisive kick.

Unai Emery revealed his pride after coming a whisker away from defeating Chelsea in the final

At the final whistle however, Emery immediately took the chance to talk up the satisfaction he felt at having taken his underdogs to the showpiece fixture.

He told broadcasters on the pitch: ‘It’s a pride to represent this club, Villarreal and La Liga on a day like today 

‘You cannot blame the players for anything because they’ve made a fantastic effort.’

Later, when asked about his decision to switch keepers for the shootout, Chelsea boss Tuchel insisted it was all planned.

Kepa Arrizabalaga came off the bench to save two penalties in Chelsea’s Super Cup victory

Chelsea players celebrate with the Spaniard after their shootout victory over Villarreal

He said: ‘This was not spontaneous.

‘We talked about it with the goalkeepers before my first cup game against Barnsley.

‘We had some statistics that we prepared and they showed that Willy Caballero is the best in penalty defending and they analysed like a thousand penalties from Willy.

‘Second best was Kepa and third best was Edou.

Tuchel said that Edouard Mendy accepted being replaced by Kepa for the shootout

‘The analysis and goalkeepers coaches introduced me to the data, we spoke to all three goalkeepers very open and told them this can happen in knockout games.

‘If we have a change left that we take this change not for personal reasons but to help the team, to improve the chances as we have this proof off statistic.

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