Press conference

‘Cech is a very big player and a very big person’

Unai Emery paid tribute to Petr Cech in his press conference on Thursday after the legendary goalkeeper announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

Our head coach discussed our No 1 and also reflected on Saturday’s game against Chelsea and the race for a top-four place.

This is what he told the media:

on Petr Cech's retirement and how it's been to work with him...
Good afternoon. First, I think he's a very big person. As a person I've only known him six months. After that, I know him like a player. A great player with a lot of titles in his career and I think the respect to him is very big for me and for all the football world. His decision is a very, very personal decision and I respect him. He said to us at the beginning of this week and when he said to us I wasn't surprised but I respect him because he was thinking with his family for this decision and we can only say to him after, every player in the team, we want to do this way and at the end of your career find good moments with you.

on whether Cech has an option to become a coach at Arsenal…
Now it’s very difficult to speak about that. I want to enjoy the last four months with him and to finish in a good way together, to find our objective with him. I want to enjoy it with him.

on facing Chelsea and what he wants to see from the team...
The victory, firstly. Victory first but I think we are doing two different performances, at home and away. We want to find the balance between the two moments. First, we are going to go game-by-game and Saturday we are at home and I think we are doing very big matches with big confidence with our supporters and I want the same spirit and the same performance on Saturday against Chelsea. It's a difficult, tough match and I think it's a good test for us also. We wanted to go into this match with three points difference in the table, but our defeat at West Ham doesn't give us this possibility. But Saturday, I am looking forward to playing this match because I want to look at my team, our team, playing with a good performance and also to show our supporters we can do more and we can do better than we are doing away.

on form…
I think Saturday is a big test and our first objective is to be in the top four. It’s more difficult after our defeat against West Ham but we can take positives, like if we win on Saturday. It’s a good test and challenge. A win will take us closer to them. This will take us one step closer to our objective and this is the test. Over 38 matches some are small finals and Saturday for us is a small final.

on what he’s expecting from Chelsea…
A very organised team with very important players. It will be difficult but I believe in our spirit, our quality, our organisation when we are playing at home with our supporters. I think that each match in the Emirates is very special. It will be a tough match but if we play with a big performance, with organisation, I think we can win. It’s difficult and it’s also a test because we can be who we are. Between the beginning of the season when we played them and now, the 23rd game of the season, we are going to play them again. It’s a good moment and a very good test.

on how well Sarri has adapted to the PL…
It’s positive. I think his team has one very good idea and a very good personality, which is what we wants, how he played with Napoli. Now, when you watch Chelsea’s matches, they are playing well and they are playing with this identity. For us also, it’s a good test and we hope we can impose ourselves. Usually, they will impose themselves on the opposition in each of their matches, and they also won against Manchester City. I think this test is the same for us. If we can impose our idea, our game plan, against them, it’s the best test for us.