Unai Emery ‘one of the best managers in the world’, Ollie Watkins ‘one of the best forwards in Europe’ – Paulo Fonseca full of praise for Aston Villa

Paulo Fonseca didn’t hide his admiration for Aston Villa ahead of Lille OSC’s UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-final against the Premier League side. Individually and collectively, he holds the English side in high esteem. 

“After PSG, it’s maybe the strongest team we’ll face this season,” said Fonseca in Wednesday’s pre-match press conference, adding that he believes LOSC will have to play the “perfect” match to overcome their opponent. Lille are flying domestically and haven’t lost in Ligue 1 since late February, however, there is a desire to end the season with silverware – as well as a qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League. 

‘He is a manager that I love’ – Fonseca on Emery

Aston Villa stands in Les Dogues’ way. Fonseca described the Birmingham-based side as the “strongest” in the competition. The Portuguese manager singled out Unai Emery and Ollie Watkins for praise. “We’ve prepared so that [Watkins] doesn’t get lots of opportunities, because we know if he gets chances, he will score. He is one of the best forwards at the moment, one of the best in Europe. We need to be aware of him,” said Fonseca. The England international’s matchup against Leny Yoro, one of the most exciting defensive prospects in world football, promises to be fascinating. 

Fonseca also expressed great admiration for this counterpart, Emery, who has put his side in contention for Champions League qualification. “For me, Unai is one of the best managers in the world, there is no doubt about it. He has had an incredible career, his team play very well and defends very well. He is a manager that I love,” said the Lille manager. Whilst Fonseca may admire Emery, he will be hoping to get the better of him on Thursday night at Villa Park. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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