Arsene Wenger believes Unai Emery was unfairly treated by Arsenal and has hailed the Spaniard as a ‘great coach’.
Emery replaced Wenger as Arsenal manager in 2018 but was sacked after just 18 months in charge.
Since leaving Arsenal, Emery guided Villarreal to their first ever final in a major European competition as they beat Manchester United to win the Europa League last year.
Emery came close to leading Villarreal to a place in the Champions League final on Tuesday evening as they pulled level with Liverpool on aggregate before Jurgen Klopp’s side sealed a 3-2 victory.
And Wenger believes Arsenal should have given Emery more time to be a success during his short stint in the Premier League.
When asked if Emery had been unfairly treated by beIN Sports, Wenger replied: ‘Certainly, yes.
‘Because they didn’t give him a lot of time.’
Wenger also complained about the format of the Europa League – a trophy which Emery has won four times during his managerial career.
‘But as well, there’s a lot to talk about because, for example, is it right that the teams who are not successful in the group stage can play the Europa League?’ Wenger asked.
‘Because out of ten years, the teams who are not successful in the Champions League were winning the Uefa Cup.
‘So that transformed a non-success into a success.’
When asked if he felt the Europa League was rewarding teams for failure, Wenger said: ‘It was more to give an importance to the trophy than to reward the sporting quality.
‘But I think Unai Emery’s a great coach, that he has shown it in Spain again and he is constantly there at the top level.’