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Exclusive: Valencia legend Fernando dismisses Emery Arsenal problems

Valencia sporting director Fernando Gomez has lauded Unai Emery for his time at the club.

Emery started his management career at Lorca in 2004, before working his way up to Almeria in the Segunda Division.

Almeria won their first promotion to La Liga under Emery in 2007, prompting Valencia to seek his signature.

The Spaniard replaced Ronald Koeman in the Mestalla hot-seat and finished sixth in his first season in charge.

Things turned around in Emery's second season, with the club finishing in third. He repeated top-four finishes in his next two seasons, even after star players David Silva, David Villa and Juan Mata were sold.

Gomez, who worked with Emery between 2008 to 2010, was impressed with his countrymen's stint at the club.

He told "If I'm not mistaken, Unai was the only coach to have qualified VCF in the top four in La Liga three times in a row, that is, for the Champions League.

"He reached the quarter-finals in the Europa League, and the knockout competitions were his great handicap. But it is also true that the club focused all its efforts on reaching the Champions League, because of the economic income that it meant, and what it meant on a sporting level.

"I think his work-rate at Valencia was very good, in league I would say exceptional, but, in spite of that, his relationship with the fans was not the best. He was not given to populist statements, nor was he very extrovert in press conferences, like others. Some journalists too, for whatever reason, I don't know, didn't accept his way of working either, the way the team played."

Emery left Valencia in 2012 for Spartak Moscow before returning to Spain with Sevilla the following January, where he won three consecutive Europa League titles with Los Rojiblancos.

The 48-year-old then spent two seasons at PSG before succeeding Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in 2018.

His spell in North London ended in acrimonious fashion last December, with Emery failing to win a trophy in 18 months at the club.

And Gomez says Emery should be proud of his career after leaving Valencia.

"His subsequent career has been spectacular," he added. "From the clubs you almost always come out badly, you are fired for bad results.

"It's complicated to do things very well, and to leave the club you work for after that. What you have to value about Unai is the number of big clubs that have hired him. Maybe it didn't go as well as expected afterwards, but it would be for a reason."

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Will McCarthy

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