AVB: Emery can be a great

The two managers come face to face in Wednesday’s crunch Champions

League clash at the Mestalla. Villas-Boas will put his friendship

with Emery to one side for the Blues’ second Group E game in Spain

– a match that is beginning to look by far their toughest en route

to the knockout stage. Like 33-year-old Villas-Boas, Emery began

his managerial career in his early 30s, and the pair are now

considered two of the brightest young coaches around. After injury

forced him to hang up his boots, Emery enjoyed instant success at

both Lorca and Almeria before being tasked with reviving

debt-ridden Valencia’s fortunes just over three years ago. Despite

being forced to sell star men such as David Villa, David Silva and

– most recently to Chelsea – Juan Mata, the 39-year-old has done

just that. They have twice finished third behind the mega-rich

Barcelona and Real Madrid and stormed to the top of the Primera

Division this season before Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw with the

former, who they were 13 minutes away from beating in a thrilling

contest. “Unai is a very, very good coach,” said Villas-Boas, who

was otherwise occupied on Wednesday as Chelsea were beating Fulham

in the Carling Cup but had a scout at the Mestalla. “I think he can

be one of the future greatest managers. “He organises his teams

very well and all of what he has done in his career is down to his

attitude towards the game and the way his team plays. “He is a

friend of mine and I’m happy he is doing well.” Despite their fine

start domestically, Valencia failed to kick off their Champions

League campaign with a victory, having been held to a goalless draw

at Genk a week and a half ago. “The result at Genk was unexpected,”

said Villas-Boas, whose Chelsea side beat Bayer Leverkusen on the

same night to take the early initiative in Group E. “Genk is a

difficult place to go and it’s a very tight stadium with a good

environment. “But I was expecting Valencia to take the win. “So I

would say that this is a game where Valencia will try to get three

points. “A win at Valencia would put us in a very, very good

position.” After playing for more than 70 minutes with 10 men in

Wednesday night’s Carling Cup penalty shootout win following Alex’s

red card, Villas-Boas made wholesale changes to his side for

today’s Barclays Premier League game against Swansea. But he

revealed that would not have a knock-on effect for the Valencia

game, insisting it was too early in the season to worry about

burnout. “You don’t know how many games you’re going to play during

the season, so we just have to wait and see,” he said. “We hope to

progress to a good season but, at the moment, I would never take

that into account. “Players can be overloaded – I agree – but due

to the different international appointments they have and the games

they play for their teams.” That is likely to mean an early reunion

for Mata and his former Valencia team-mates, while Oriol Romeu is

also set for a quick return to Spain after quitting Barcelona this

summer. The holding midfielder, who turned 20 today, impressed

during his full debut on Wednesday. “You saw the potential of the

player,” Villas-Boas said. “He’s competing with (John Obi) Mikel

and Raul (Meireles) in that position and he played to a good level.

“All of them have the talent to play in that position. “They have,

of course, their individual characteristics and we try to promote

what is their individual talent. “All of the three are very, very

good.”