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Unai Emery has been overachieving his entire career, that is very much clear.
At Lorca, he took the club to the second division for the first time in their history. He then became Almeria's manager and he got the club promoted to the first division for the first time in their history, finishing eighth in La Liga in his first season in the top flight–an absolutely remarkable feat for such a modest club.
Emery then moved to Valencia in the summer of 2008; Valencia had had a terrible season in 2007/2008 (finishing 10th and flirting with relegation for a while) and they were a club in great financial disarray, so there were no big expectations.
But like at Almeria, Emery defied the odds and took Valencia to an unexpected sixth place finish, making the team play some very nice football. He then managed to make his squad even stronger in the following years and finished third in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 while having good showings in Europe.
Valencia were expected to keep struggling in 2009, but Emery took them to sixth place. They were expected to slump after they sold Silva and Villa, but Emery took them to a comfortable third place finish. His body of work, at both Almeria and Valencia, is sensational, he has defied the odds in every occasion.
At 39, Unai Emery is still a very young manager, but his overall body of work so far clearly makes him one of the best in the world at what he does.
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