Express & Star

'Keep your cool!' Unai Emery's warning to World Cup winner

Unai Emery will remind Emi Martinez to keep his composure as the Villa goalkeeper prepares to run a gauntlet of hate in Lille on Thursday.


Martinez is in for a hot reception in what will be his first match in France since the 2022 World Cup final.

The Argentina international angered the French public with his antics both during and after the match, in which he saved two shoot-out penalties to earn his team victory.

Martinez was targeted with chants from visiting supporters during last week’s Europa Conference League quarter final first leg.

He is expected to receive more of the same during Thursday’s second leg in France, with nearly 48,000 home supporters expected at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Emery is confident his keeper can deal with the flak, saying: “Emi Martinez is very important for us, very recognised in world football. He has high prestige.

“Of course, when you get success with your country you will have opponents in other countries and teams you beat, but we will protect him.

“We didn’t speak about it. We are focusing on the match with everything and tomorrow we will play in this scenario with 60,000 of their fans and our fans. We try to play our match being focused.

Villa take a 2-1 lead into tonight’s match and Emery continued: “We have to be ready for the pressure, and for the opposing supporters.

“We have to be mature and focused – it’s a football match. We have to play with this atmosphere here like we played last week with the fans behind us more than then.

“We have to manage it, we have to control emotions, be mature and responsible.”