Unai Emery will begin life as Aston Villa boss on Tuesday and the hope is that the Spaniard will usher in a successful period at the club under his stewardship.
The 50-year-old has already started stamping his mark with news on Monday that there will be a reshuffle of the coaching staff, with goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler moving on while Aaron Danks will potentially take up a new role away from first-team coaching duties, as confirmed by the club.
Although Austin MacPhee stays on, that further clears the way for Emery to bring his own coaching staff in with him, and it’s hoped that he adds the right individuals to those roles in order to help us progress.
Coaching in the Premier League won’t be new for Emery given his previous stint at Arsenal, while he has of course also coached – and enjoyed great success – in Spain and France too. Through those jobs, he has pedigree and experience at the highest level, and so there is confidence that he’ll get things right with us.
That said, for any new manager coming in, they need time and patience to get their ideas and plans across and given we’re certainly not looking for any quick, short-term fixes but rather a successful long-term project, Emery must be given those luxuries in the opening weeks and months of his tenure.
Fundamental Emery changes will take time
Not only in terms of implementing and instilling his own football philosophy, identity and style of play on the squad, but also trying to work out which players will be important for him and those who might not be such a great fit, it’s a big task that awaits Emery at Villa as he gets to know his squad more closely in the coming days.
Add our current concerning Premier League position to the mix and disappointing form which will have negatively impacted the confidence and belief in the squad, there is a lot to fix and not very much time in the management business to start to improve things.
Further, facing Man Utd in his first game at the helm isn’t going to be an assignment that allows him to settle his way back into the league, while we face them again days later in the League Cup before a tricky trip to Brighton before the break. With that in mind, there is a lot for Emery to digest as he prepares the team in training this week.
It is absolutely crucial though that he now gets time and patience from all concerned to stamp his mark at the club before making any judgements or putting too much pressure on either him or the players.
Yes, we need results and points as soon as possible. Beyond the obvious benefits that come with that, it will also alleviate pressure and help build a more relaxed environment at Bodymoor Heath for Emery and his staff to work in.
However, it’s going to take time for him to implement the changes that he’ll demand from the players, physically and mentally as well as tactically and technically, and that won’t happen overnight, especially for a team that has arguably been lacking real coaching direction for some time now.
January transfer window will be important
Additionally, Emery will also want to sign his own players whom he believes will take us forward. His first opportunity to do that will come in the January transfer window, and so it will be fascinating to see who arrives – and who departs – as he starts to mould the squad into one that feels like his own.
Will current leadership figures remain in big roles? Is it a genuine fresh start for players who have been on the fringes? Will there be a permanent system change and who fits into that best? These are all questions that will be answered in time, and any flaws or vulnerabilities that Emery identifies will surely be addressed by Villa’s ownership who must also now back up an ambitious and exciting managerial appointment with support for the man in charge.
That in turn means it could be months until we really see Emery’s influence paying dividends. Naturally, a positive start would be ideal, but it shouldn’t be a reason for panic if it doesn’t immediately go to plan. Having shown his coaching class and qualities over several years in different jobs and enjoyed great achievements, it’s about trusting Emery’s judgement and ability to make this a long-term success.