Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has told Thursday’s press conference – ahead of Friday night’s outing against Aston Villa – that he knows Unai Emery from his time at Salzburg, and expects Villa to be “defensively sound”.

Marsch faced Emery in the Europa League Round of 32 back in the 2020-21 campaign. A tie that saw Marsch’s side lose to new Villa boss Emery twice, and 4-1 on aggregate – 2-0 at home, and 2-1 away. So, he is aware of Emery’s tactics.

Emery has watched his side win only one game of the four Villa have played since the return from the World Cup break. The Spanish gaffer saw his side the victim of one of the biggest FA Cup shocks, losing at home to Stevenage.

They have also lost at home to Liverpool, beat Tottenham 2-0 away and drew with struggling Wolves. So, not the best form while Leeds come into it after two successive 2-2 draws. Marsch shared his verdict on ex-Arsenal boss Emery.

“I know Emery from playing against Villarreal with Salzburg. His team was very disciplined and defensively sound, but also dangerous on the counter. They had a lot of good players, and Villa do too. We will need to be at our best.”

Villarreal v Salzburg - UEFA Europa League
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Leeds boss Marsch knows Aston Villa boss Emery from time at Salzburg

A tricky trip to Villa, then. Leeds have had some interesting recent outings against Villa. Many will remember Patrick Bamford’s hat-trick at Villa Park in our first season back in the Premier League. A stunning, 3-0 away win at Villa Park.

This season, we drew with Steven Gerrard’s side 0-0 at Elland Road – with Luis Sinisterra sent off. A 3-3 away draw last term that Andrea Radrizzani has indicated was the first match in which he though Marcelo Bielsa needed to be sacked.

Can Leeds get a result? Well, they certainly can. Villa seem very up and down. But if they come up against the Villa side that beat Spurs 2-0 away from home, then it will be incredibly difficult. It depends which Villa, Leeds come up against.

Villarreal CF v RB Salzburg  - UEFA Europa League Round Of 32 Leg Two
(Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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