In pictures: Young Boys v Manchester United
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Manchester United lost their opening group game against Young Boys in one of the shock results of the round which usually would be music to the ears of their group rivals. but Unai Emery has accused Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side of making proceedings ‘complicated’.
Manchester United’s Champions League campaign got off to a nightmare start on Tuesday night as they were defeated 2-1 by group outsiders Young Boys in Switzerland.
Elsewhere in their group, Villarreal and Atalanta played out a dramatic 2-2 draw, leaving the group already wide open as they head into the second round of fixtures.
Villarreal will be familiar to Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side after the Spaniard’s defeated United on penalties in last season’s Europa League final, and were coincidentally drawn together at the first stage this time around in Europe’s top competition.
However, following United’s rocky start to the group, Emery has accused Solskjaer’s side of making the rest of the group ‘complicated’.
Unai Emery hangs his head as his side concede late to Atalanta (Image: GETTY)
Villarreal next group games sees them travel to Old Trafford to set up a rematch of last season’s Europa League final, but Emery has blamed United for making the rest of the group “harder”.
The Spaniard spoke to Villarreal’s official website and said: “This group gets complicated with Young Boys beating Manchester United. I wouldn't rule out a surprise, because I've already experienced them in the Champions League and in the Europa League.
“Teams in Europe have a touch more motivation. Young Boys are group leaders, and Manchester United, who are the favourites, are last.
“Atalanta and Villarreal are there, fighting for our space. Every game played makes it that little bit harder.”
Manchester United’s trophy success (Image: Express)
United will be keen to seek revenge on Villarreal for ensuring that their previous season ended trophy-less, and will be even more desperate for a win in order to get their Champions League challenge back on track.
However, United have never beaten Villarreal in a competitive game, and Emery will be hoping that it stays that way to guarantee that his side don’t sit bottom of the group before the third round of fixtures.
Solskjaer’s side had to play the majority of their opening game with 10 men, after Aaron Wan-Bissaka was shown a straight red for his poor challenge on Christopher Martins Pereira after 35 minutes, but United looked like they were going to hang on for a point until Jesse Lingard gifted the home side with an unlikely winner.
Villarreal were also dismissed during their draw with Italian side Atalanta, as former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin received a second booking just moments after Robin Goosens equalised against the Spaniards, meaning both sides will be without a key player when they meet at Old Trafford.
Man Utd accused of making Champions League group ‘complicated’ by Unai Emery (Image: GETTY)
United are still favourites to win the group, and due to Atalanta’s impressive finish behind Liverpool in their group last season, Villarreal have now been placed as outsiders to progress from the group due to Young Boys point advantage early on.
This therefore highlights why Emery is clearly frustrated, and even finishing third doesn’t guarantee you a Europa League position anymore, as the new rules state that third placed Champions League sides will play-off against teams that finish second in their groups of the lower competition.
Emery is a Europa League specialist, but his sides failure to hold on their lead against Atalanta late on has massively hindered them in this seasons Champions League fight.
Villarreal’s fortunes could change if they cause another upset against United in their next European fixture, but they could have their work cut out against an in-form Cristiano Ronaldo.
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