Villarreal boss Unai Emery has admitted that Group F is wide open after the opening round of the match.
Manchester United lost 2-1 to Young Boys, while Villarreal and Atalanta drew 2-2.
Emerys Villarreal visit Old Trafford next time in a repeat of the maize Europa League final.
Emery told Villarreal’s website: “This group is getting complicated with Young Boys beating Manchester United.
“I did not want to rule out a surprise, because I have already experienced them in the Champions League and in the Europa League.
“Teams in Europe have a touch more motivation. The Young Boys are group leaders and Manchester United, who are the favorites, are last.
“Atalanta and Villarreal are there fighting for our space. Every game played makes it a little harder. ”
Hard play on the way
United have never beaten Villarreal in a competitive match and played 0-0 four times before the 1-1 Europa League final, which went to penalties.
The La Liga team has kept the core of their team intact from last season and held on to star defender Pau Torres and top scorer Gerard Romero.
Defender Juan Foyth posted a message on social media after their draw with Atalanta, which read: “It is a difficult group, we will face all the matches as if they were finals.”
United will not have it easy against them, even with revenge for Gdansk in mind.
Villarreal are resilient, well-drilled, with a goal-scoring threat, and the tense situation in the group with United in need of a win will only make it tougher.
Then there are two matches against a dangerous Atalanta side who scored more Serie A points than Ronaldo’s Juventus last season and reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2019/20.
The Young Boys matches should have been six points in the bank for United. Now with a lost match already, United are up against it.
As Emery points out, the group is ‘complicated’ and all four sides will see their chances of progression.
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