Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag rates the job Unai Emery has done at Aston Villa | Football

Erik ten Hag takes his team to Villa Park on Sunday (Picture: Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag has been very impressed by the job Unai Emery has done at Aston Villa, saying Manchester United will have to play to their ‘maximums levels’ when the sides meet on Sunday.

Villa are enjoying a great season in the Premier League, sitting fourth in the table and with a very real chance of making it into the Champions League next campaign.

Manchester United are sixth and eight points behind them, hoping to catch the Villains, and they may well need a positive result on Sunday to have a realistic chance of doing so.

Ten Hag did get the better of Emery in a memorable 3-2 win at Old Trafford in December, but he knows Villa are a serious test under the Spaniard’s leadership.

‘I think it is very good how he developed his team and how they want to play, in and out of position,’ Ten Hag told a press conference on Thursday.

‘The players know what they have to do and cooperate with each other. They are a real team with weapons in their team, we have to play our maximum levels.’

It may not be the worst time for the Red Devils to face the Villains, though, as Emery’s men are coming off a morale-draining 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea in the FA Cup on Wednesday night.

Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League

Ten Hag has won his last three meetings with Emery’s Aston Villa (Picture: Getty)

In contrast, Manchester United have had the week off after their 3-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday so should have the energy this weekend, and will be buoyed after three straight wins in all competitions.

Asked if the match at Villa Park is a must win, Ten Hag said: ‘I said to the team from the start of January every game is now a final.

‘That was also our approach to West Ham, this is a final, we have to take this challenge and see it as a final. That will be every day now from on.’

Emery was not hiding the importance of Sunday’s game after the disappointing defeat to Chelsea.

‘There is still a lot of work to do,’ he said. ‘Against Chelsea we have to accept the defeat. We have to move on and on Sunday we have a very important game.’


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