Manchester United

Francis Coquelin reveals delight in getting 'revenge' against Sir Alex Ferguson

Sean Walsh
Coquelin's Villarreal beat Man Utd in last season's Europa League final
Coquelin's Villarreal beat Man Utd in last season's Europa League final / Cristian Trujillo/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images, Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Villarreal midfielder Francis Coquelin has admitted that he was given further pleasure in last season's Europa League triumph over Manchester United because he was able to exact revenge against Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Yellow Submarine went into the 2021 final as underdogs but prevailed via a penalty shootout to win their first ever piece of major silverware.

Coquelin came on as a 60th-minute substitute and scored Villarreal's eighth spot kick on their way way to victory.

The Frenchman has had a relatively successful career at the top level after making his Premier League debut for Arsenal in their infamous 8-2 defeat to United back in 2011.

Two years later, United legend Ferguson criticised the midfielder in his biography, with an extract reading: "Arsenal played with a young boy in midfield: Francis Coquelin. I had barely heard of him, and he hardly played again."

Ahead of Villarreal's Champions League semi-final with Liverpool, Coquelin admitted to RMC Sport that comments made by Ferguson helped fuel his desire to win last season's Europa League final.

"[It was] a little revenge. When I made my Arsenal debut, we lost 8-2 at Old Trafford. At the time, I was criticised by Sir Alex Ferguson in his biography. So it was a nice little kickback to win the Europa League against them," he said.

"Besides, I think he was in the stands. Lifting the trophy in front of him was nice. I looked for him, I couldn't find him. But he must have seen me."