We sat down with Unai Emery on Wednesday for his first one-on-one interview as our head coach.
The Spaniard discussed a "grand opportunity", what he wants from the team and working with Jose Antonio Reyes.
This is what he told us:
Unai, it’s a new chapter for Arsenal and a new chapter for you. What does it mean to you to be our head coach?
I am proud of this opportunity. I’m very excited to start the new way together with this Arsenal project and my personal project also. I love the passion, I like the intensity, I like to find the way for next season. I am very, very happy to be here.
When you hear the words ‘Arsenal Football Club’ what comes to your mind?
A great club, a great city, a great set of supporters and a big stadium. For me it’s a dream to come true to work here. It’s a grand opportunity and a challenge.
What message would you like to give to our fans on your first day here?
I want to say to all the supporters that we are going to work hard. I don’t promise I will win, but I promise we will work hard.
You’ve said before that “fans want their emotions to come to the surface”. How do you make that happen?
For me, during my career, two things have been important: hard work with heart and thinking with the head. The combinations are very important. Think positively with emotion and intelligence.
In terms of the current team, how much potential does it have?
I love the talent and I think this team are a talented squad. I think, when you are talented, you need to work with that talent and find a great performance with the talent and with the work.
You’re following a man who was with us for 22 years - how much do you admire Arsene Wenger?
He is a big reference for all the coaches in the world, and for me also. I want to say to him: thank you very much.
One former Arsenal player you know well is Jose Antonio Reyes. What was he like to work with?
A talent. He’s a great, talented player and I worked with him for three years. We won the Europa League together. The supporters at Sevilla love Reyes and a player like Reyes is different because of his talent. My experience with him is the same as he was here. There’s talent and hard work and his workrate in those training sessions every day are what make big players.
Unai, you’ve said that you “live football as passion and emotion.” Can you describe what you mean by that?
I think we play for the supporters. I think that football is a game but want to transmit intensity on the pitch to the supporters, to score goals. This emotion, you can give the supporters. Then the supporters know that they are with this team.
What are the characteristics of an Unai Emery team? How do you like your teams to play?
With personality. This personality for all the minutes of a match: protagonists. I like the possession with the ball, I like good pressing against the other team. I prefer to win 5-4 than win 1-0.
Your preparation for games is famously meticulous. What can you tell us about that?
I love the analysis, and going through the whole match like a movie. Then, I work through all the situations, all the things in the match, every day in training sessions. I love to work with all the players and individually with the players to improve their technique, tactics, mentality. I also like to speak with the players directly, to speak with their heart and one connection to find that connection with individual players and the whole team.
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