Press conference

Emery and Koscielny: read the full transcript

Unai Emery and Laurent faced the media at London Colney on Wednesday ahead of our Europa League clash with BATE Borisov.

They discussed finding a balance between attack and defence, Mesut Ozil, the latest team news and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

UE on what he wants to see from his side…
For us tomorrow is a very important match, after the first result we must manage the 90 minutes and also know if we need more minutes after the 90 minutes it can be in our mind with the preparation to do that. It is also very important to play in our stadium with our supporters, and we need their support for this match and I hope there is a big atmosphere for us. Together, with their support, I know our players can play and give their all.

LK on balancing the attack and defence in this game…
We need to find a good balance between attacking and defending. I think they will play with a deep block and wait to play on the counter-attack. We need to be focused on our tradition when we lose the ball, to try to win back the ball as soon as possible. We don’t want to give them chances to have a free-kick or corner. Afterwards, it’s about us being efficient in their box to score some goals. We don’t know if we will score early in the game or later, but we need to continue to play with calmness and focus. We can have some chances like we had in the first leg, but we need to be more efficient in both boxes.

UE on injury news…
Yes, they are coming back with the team in the squad, Sokratis and Aaron Ramsey. Today Ainsley is sick and tomorrow we will see how he is, but today he cannot do the training. The other players are fit to play tomorrow.

LK on overturning a deficit in a European tie…
The first game was difficult because we went to BATE with ambition and wanted to win. During the game, you never know what can happen. The pitch was difficult as well. Now the reality is we are 1-0 down and we know the game we want to play tomorrow, we have the quality to qualify and go to the next round. Each player is focused and it is a very important game because it is a chance to get to a final and get into the Champions League. Everyone is together and that’s the most important thing for tomorrow.

UE on the kick-off time affecting attendance…
I don’t know, but we want and we need the supporters. If we can create a big atmosphere tomorrow, then it is very important. The supporters want to watch our team play with the best performance possible. For this reason, I think we need good feedback between the supporters and us.

UE on if Uefa need to look at this issue...
I can say we need them and if there are a lot less supporters tomorrow in the stadium, I want them to help us in the 90 minutes and to be with us helping. We need to listen to them supporting us and the players must give them the best performance in our stadium.

UE on Wenger’s comments on Mesut Ozil…
Mostly, the key is his hand and he is working very well this week and I ask him in our conversations to be consistent, to be available for us training, when you can train with quality and consistency, it can help us with the best performance after in the games. Now, this week is good for all the players, because we are in a big, important moment for the season and I look at him doing the training like we want. I know he wants, but we need to be consistent and available in training and the matches without the injuries and without being sick. Like that, we can find and see the best Mesut with us.

LK on whether the team are missing out by not being in the CL…
No, no, the Europa League is still a big competition, it is still a European cup, but of course when you are in the Champions League you want to be in there every year and next season we want to be in the Champions League. But the Europa League this season still has a lot of big teams, it is a top-level tournament, there is Chelsea, Napoli, Valencia so it I think it is a big competition, more than last year, and every year it is more intense. Last year Atletico Madrid won the cup, so for us it is big opportunity to go in the Champions League. Now we have a game in front of us like tomorrow to get to the next rounds and try to get to the final and be in the Champions League next season.

LK on struggling to keep clean sheets...
In the game against BATE we knew we had the possession, after we need to be more efficient. If we scored the first opportunity against them I think the game is totally different. They just waited for a free kick or corner, and in football you can miss a duel and concede a goal. It is important that all the players on the pitch do their defensive job well. It starts with our strikers when we want to press very high, it makes it easier for our defenders to win back the ball. It is a collective job and we need to be more consistent in this and work harder.

LK on whether there is a mental block for knockout games…
No I think all the games I played with Arsenal have been different in every game. I played against big teams and it was hard and often against the winner of the Champions League, I think about Barca and Bayern, so it’s difference. But today we are more positive about what we want to achieve together, the most important is to win. After we know how we want to play our game, but most important is the final result. It is difficult but we are professional and we want to go to the final. We know we need to play very well tomorrow as we are in a bad position at this moment, but for 90 minutes we can play well and reach the next round.

UE on his confidence of reaching the next round…
It was a bad result last week, but the team worked with our planning and we had chances to score and every chance we need to improve tomorrow. We need to continue with our gameplay despite the bad result. Tomorrow we must manage 90 minutes with the result to get a good result for us, but knowing that this is 1-0 we need to be very consistent. We also need to get into their box, find the best positions to score and be efficient. We need a big result to manage this game better, but I think we have experience and every player knows tomorrow we are playing against an organised team. They have big motivation after that result, and we must do the best performance and I ask our supporters because I think they can help us achieve a good performance to come back into the game. My confidence is if we play like we can and play together for 90 minutes, like we are doing at home, I have the confidence and trust in our players.

UE on which competition gives him the best chance of Champions League football…
The Europa League has improved a lot over the last year and now to win is very difficult. Last year it was Atletico Madrid and two years ago it was Manchester United. Three years ago we played Sevilla against Liverpool - and now every team wants to win this competition because it’s a title that gives the team the opportunity to play in the Champions League the next year. But every team wants that. Small teams have the chance to surprise in this competition too because they have a lot of experienced players with their international team, and they have showed us that they can be competitive in these two matches. Now we are very, very focused to give the best performance and show respect to them, but we are thinking about this round only. We are not thinking about this whole competition yet, no, no, no, we need to win tomorrow to continue our way in this competition.

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