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Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has sent warning to Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag over Tottenham clash

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has sent warning to Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag over Tottenham clash

Man Utd must avoid a repeat of this.

Manchester United take on Tottenham Hotspur in a crunch Premier League fixture on Thursday - and they must avoid a punishment inflicted on them by Aston Villa boss Unai Emery last year.

A win for Erik ten Hag's side tonight would take them one step closer to securing qualification for next season's Champions League.

Those hopes rest solely on Premier League performance now, with United having been knocked out of the Europa League quarter-finals at the hands of Sevilla. Had they won the competition, they would have earned a spot in the Champions League.

But a top four finish is now mandatory for that to happen, and Ten Hag's side can go eight points clear of fifth-placed Villa with two games in hand if they defeat Spurs.

A loss for Spurs would effectively eliminate them from top four contention, meaning it is a must-win - or must not lose - game for Ryan Mason's side.

And the new interim boss - who replaced previous interim Cristian Stellini earlier this week - may well have looked at Emery for inspiration ahead of the daunting fixture.

Man Utd must heed Emery warning in Spurs clash

Last November, Ten Hag and United travelled to Villa Park in the midst of a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

The fixture does feel like longer than five months ago - Cristiano Ronaldo captained United, and current long-term injury absentee Donny van de Beek was in the starting XI - but it represented the beginning of Emery's reign at Villa.

The Spaniard has transformed Villa during his time in charge, lifting the side up from the slump they were in during the second half of Steven Gerrard's reign.

But it all started on November 6, Emery's side putting United to the sword with patterns of play that have become commonplace across those five months.

They went 2-0 up inside 11 minutes, Leon Bailey and Lucas Digne getting on the scoresheet as United's back four struggled to exert an early grip on the game.

Ten Hag's side got back into it shortly before half-time through a Jacob Ramsey own goal, but the young midfielder made it 3-1 when he placed Ollie Watkins' cutback into the top right corner.

And speaking after the game, United defender Luke Shaw sent a warning to his team-mates: "We knew they were coming out with a new manager and a new feeling. We did expect it.

"But in games like this, if you start slowly in the first 20 minutes then you are going to lose."

United must ensure the Villa performance does not repeat itself in their away trip to a Spurs side desperate to bounce back from their 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Newcastle last weekend.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy / Darren Staples/Sportimage

Topics: Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, Unai Emery, Aston Villa