• Emery hails Benítez as a pioneer for Spanish coaches
• Arsenal manager wants to make an impact in Europa League
Unai Emery has hailed Rafael Benítez as a trailblazer for Spanish coaches working in England before their meeting at Newcastle on Saturday. “He is the first of the Spanish coaches to be working here,” Arsenal’s manager said. “He knows the Premier League. He got the best performance with a lot of teams and above all with Liverpool.”
Benítez is in his 24th season as a head coach, Emery in his 15th, yet these compatriots have seldom crossed managerial swords. A rare meeting took place in 2015, when Emery’s Sevilla upset Benítez’s Real Madrid by ending a long unbeaten run. “I know Benítez, he is a very competitive coach and his teams are usually also competitive,” Emery said before facing opponents feeling the pressure at the uncomfortable end of the table.