Unai Emery shares touching moment with former Villa boss Dean Smith

Unai Emery shares touching moment with Dean Smith and tells the ex-Aston Villa boss ‘thank you for everything’ as they reflect on the club’s form – with fans heaping praise on the pair for their mutual respect ahead of West Ham clash

  • Dean Smith interviewed Unai Emery ahead of Aston Villa’s clash with West Ham
  • Villa fans took to social media to shower the two managers with respect
  •  Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Coming Up!’

Unai Emery and Dean Smith shared a moment of mutual respect in front of the television cameras prior to Aston Villa’s clash with West Ham.

Smith spent more than three years at the club between 2018 and 2021, leading them back to the Premier League via the play-offs during his first season in charge. 

On Sunday Smith returned to the ground he had frequented as a boyhood fan, though this time performing punditry duties for Sky Sports and tasked with interviewing the club’s current boss.

The pair embraced, and Emery thanked Smith before Smith asked him how he has managed to make the Villa Park such a fortress since taking over at the club in November.

‘I try to always be organised. Here with our supporters we feel their connection. We want to do something on the pitch to be connected with them and feel it strongly.’ Emery said.

Former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith interviewed Unai Emery before Aston Villa’s clash with West Ham

The pair shook hands and embraced before the game, with Emery thanking Smith for what he did for the club

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Emery also praised the workrate of Ollie Watkins, the former Brentford forward who was brought to Villa by Smith for a then club-record in September 2020.

‘He’s very professional, and demanding of himself.’ Emery added.

‘Everyday practicing, he wants tactical individual analysis with him. I speak with him everyday. 

‘It’s a challenge, he has to be focused to score and do the work defensively. Even when he isn’t scoring he’s playing well, doing his work.’

Despite an acrimonious ending to his time in charge at the club, when he was sacked following five consecutive Premier League defeats, Smith’s achievements during his time in charge have seen him remain a beloved figure among much of the club’s fanbase.

After the clip of the interview was shared, supporters took to social media to reflect on Smith’s time in charge, and praise the interaction between the club’s former and current manager.

Fans on social media shared their support for the two managers, praising their mutual respect for one another

One fan wrote: ‘You can see the mutual respect between them both. Clear to see emery researched the club deeply when he agreed to join, and clear to see how much deano still loves this club. 

‘Two favourite managers we’ve had since I started watching’

Another added: ‘No words to describe how much I love these two men.’

A fan wrote: ‘Great to see Emery getting the love he deserves from Villa.’

A further fan agreed: ‘Both really important to the resurgence of our team! Love this!’ 


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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