Unai Emery wants Aston Villa at their best as he looks to end Wolves hoodoo

Unai Emery, Manager of Aston Villa, celebrates after the team's victory in the Premier League match between Luton Town and Aston Villa at Kenilworth Road on March 02, 2024 in Luton, England.


Unai Emery knows Villa will need to be at their best if his Wolves hoodoo is to end on Saturday.


Wolves are the only Premier League club Emery has failed to beat during his spells with Arsenal and Villa and the Spaniard is both aware of the statistic and the threat posed by Gary O’Neil’s team.


“I respect them a lot,” said Emery, who has lost four and drawn two of his six meetings with Wolves.


“The last five matches Villa have played against Wolverhampton we didn’t win and myself as a coach, with Arsenal or Villa, I didn’t win. I know it.


“This is a big challenge for everybody. We are going to have to do a lot of things very well to beat them.”


Wolves are unbeaten in four Premier League visits to Villa Park since the hosts won promotion back to the top flight in 2019.


Liverpool are the only other league team Emery has failed to beat since taking charge of Villa in November 2022 and he is aware of the rivalry which exists between the clubs.


He explained how he had previously quizzed Leander Dendoncker, who moved from Wolves to Villa that same year, about the derby.


Emery said: “Of course it is a very great match for those supporters, for them and us.


“When I played against them here, I felt it in the stadium, the good atmosphere and the fans being excited.


“Analysing on the pitch, they played against us being very competitive and it is very difficult to beat them.


“Their transition is very good, their organisation with the ball as well is strong. They have very good players in the duels and it is difficult. Their midfielders, I like a lot. I respect them a lot.”

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