Press conference

Emery on Auba, Laca, Ceballos and Koscielny

Unai Emery and Alex Lacazette during our pre-season match against Real Madrid in Maryland

The curtain came down on our US tour with a thriller against Real Madrid, and a narrow defeat on penalties.

Unai Emery was not concerned about the result, he prefers to dwell on the performances and progress at this stage of pre-season.

Our head coach gave his verdict on the tour after the Madrid game, and answered questions on our strikers, the possible knock-on effect of Marco Asensio's injury and the future of Laurent Koscielny.

Here's what Unai said:

on the end of the tour...
Good evening. We are very happy - we finished the last match today, with the same players as before. You’ve seen different players, taking minutes and confidence. The result is not important but in the match today we showed a good level. When we needed young players, their performances were perfect. I’m very happy - the team worked well every day and the tour was perfect for us to be in the USA. We had a lot of fans in Los Angeles, Denver, Charlotte and here - and [to see them] for us is important.

on where the team is in terms of preparation...
This match was to take confidence, to play together with young players and give them chances. The result is not important but we want to create a winning mentality. We are working and analysing each match to improve offensively and defensively. When we were playing 11 v 11 we were playing well. After the red, we preferred to play against 11 and asked the referee if we could play against 11 again but they didn't support that chance. When we had some moments playing progressively 11 v 10 we were not controlling the game like we wanted. Ten v 10 was the same situation at the beginning. We didn't control the match, maybe because we were winning 2-0. I think we could have taken more of the ball, kept the ball with the possession. Maybe sometimes we didn't do that but in the transition we were very strong. In the last minutes, the young players' impact was amazing. This moment for them, for us, was perfect. In the transition we were very good and with the ball we created chances.

on Aubameyang and Lacazette showing a future as a pairing...
Yes, really their combination is very good but they can play both. They were playing both and sometimes we are playing with one striker or two strikers or with one as a winger. Aubameyang can play like a striker alone, like a striker with two and can play as a winger on the right or the left. But above all with him we want to be very aggressive in the attacking third and moving forward to score with him. When we are deciding to play with another player maybe they are more of a one-to-one winger or a player like Mesut, a player who goes deep to take the ball and keep our possession with him in the pitch. It's different in each moment and each match. But above all, with Aubameyang, we can take different options with him and he is very good and very rich for us.

on the Dani Ceballos deal and if Asensio's injury affects it...
I don’t know. Our target also was not to take injuries in that match, and they maybe have with Asensio. It [could be] bad news, for them and also for us. I don’t know if it can change something.

on if Aubameyang may be sold to bring in more money to spend...
It's not really in our mind. Not really. We are very happy with Aubameyang and we don't want to sell him.

on Kolasinac in a back four...
Last year we used different systems during the season. Each moment, each match was thinking about how we were better in our positioning for defence or attack. We are starting last year working in general with a back four and trying to use two players like Ainsley and Sead, working a lot in this back four and also with Jenkinson, maybe Nacho, his natural habit was to play back four and sometimes like a left centre back in a back three. But we want to use two systems and we are working with two systems, but our first objective is to play with a back four. We are continuing working on that and, above all, feel that we defensively get stronger with a back four with Sead, with Ainsley, with Sead, with Jenkinson and with Hector when he comes back. But we can take the performance with two systems and I think it's rich for us tactically to use two systems and have two options.

on Koscielny's situation...
I’ve spoken about him, with respect to him. I tried to be with us in the position here and continue working and finding one solution between the club, between him and us. When he decided not to come here with us on tour, the solution is now only for the club and him. He decided to be out. I respect him but I have a responsibility, he has a responsibility, and the club have their responsibility. Now it’s one issue only for the club and him. My idea is to continue with the players we are working with, and the players that want to be here.