At this time of year, when you’re many miles from home, there’s a particular and special comfort to be found in a familiar face, and with the game over and the spoils of battle shared, Unai Emery was sharing a few precious moments with Bruno Saltor, the teak-tough Brighton right-back who he knew from his time at Almeria and Valencia. It’s more than a decade since they first met, but Bruno tells a story about Emery from those days that still says a good deal about him as a coach. It was December 2007, and Almeria – in their first season back in La Liga – were playing at Real Betis. Alvaro Negredo had put Almeria into an early lead, but then in the space of a few first-half minutes, disaster struck. First their centre-half was sent off for a second yellow. Then their goalkeeper David Cobeno also saw red for a professional foul. With more than an hour to go, little Almeria were down to nine men. They were a plucky little team back then, Almeria, with a number of players – Negredo, Bruno, Felipe Melo, Diego Alves – who, like their manager, would go on to bigger and… Read full this story
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