As for what we can expect from Villarreal in Gdansk, Gibson explained that the Spanish side will focus on being compact first, denying United space in which to work in, and then focus on their own strengths.
“They’re a possession-based team,” Gibson began.
“I expect Villarreal to sit deep and not commit too many players; they’ll be compact. When they’re out of possession, they’ll drop deep and I don’t think they’ll press high. They are capable of keeping possession for long spells because technically, they’re all really good players.
”Manu Trigueros is a central midfielder who can play wide but is not a winger. The classic Villarreal style is for four central midfielders to play, the full-backs to push on, and Unai Emery has adhered to that classic Villarreal style, but not always sticking to the traditional 4-4-2 that they’ve always played with.
“He has a better plan and it’s the reason they brought him. The club is steeped in playing 4-4-2, including the youth teams, they play 4-4-2 with a narrow midfielders. But Unai Emery was brought in to take them a step further and that means he’s been given a license to stray from that classic 4-4-2. He’ll look at the best way that he sees fit to stop Manchester United.
”I think he can be a little bit negative. Against Arsenal, they were running away with it in the first half of the first leg, but at half-time, he took off a centre-forward and they defended for three halves of football. He’s a cautious coach, but he’ll be looking in the most minute detail on how he can stop United. If you’re an underdog, that’s what you have to do.“