Quotes

Emery on captaincy, Ceballos, Watford: transcript

With the international break over, Unai Emery faced the media on Friday ahead of our Premier League clash at Watford.

Our head coach discussed the captaincy situation, Dani Ceballos, Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on how he spent the international break…

Good afternoon. Sometimes we need also to rest and we worked here with the players who weren’t with their national teams and after [there were] the players who were in the national teams. That week we were together after Thursday and we worked very well. We are working with our mentality and focus on Sunday with really good spirit.

on Hector and Kieran…

They are now closer to us but they need to continue working and taking training with us for their fitness. They can feel very comfortable coming back to play with us, Kieran Tierney starting and Hector Bellerin coming back after his injury.

on a date for their return…

Not yet, because it depends on their progress for the next weeks and maybe also we can decide to play at the beginning with the under-23s before, to be ready with us. Maybe if they play with the under-23s they can take confidence and better their rhythm and then after play with us 100 per cent.

on if they could return this month…

Really, we need to look at the next steps in each training and also if we decide that they play with the under-23s. But they did that week, the first time training normally with us, and we want in the next week again to take the normality in training with us. I think after that week, we can decide how they are [in terms of] starting to play with the under-23s and with us.

on any other fitness issues…

They are ready.

on Rob Holding…

Rob Holding is in the same situation like Hector and Kieran Tierney, but he earned time and matches with the under-23s and we are going to decide if he can play with the under-23s, because the next week we are going to start in the Europa League, and after we are going to play the Carabao Cup. With more minutes with the under-23s, he can be closer to give us his performance.

on if he is looking forward to having Holding back in the team…

At the moment, we were working with three centre-backs, thinking of Sunday, now four and Rob is now number five and Mavropanos is the sixth for us to think about them for Sunday.

on Nicolas Pepe…

Yes, yes, he is training well and he is ready for Sunday.

on if he’s looking forward to Holding’s return..

Rob is training with us, he is playing with the under-23s in matches and he is very close to playing with us. But when, in each training, if he is going to play with the under-23s then that match is important for him to feel good, to feel comfortable, to feel confident. It’s a possibility that in the next week he could play with us.

on if he is worried about the defence currently…

I think we can improve in all situations: offensively and defensively. Really, we have players and we have more options in the next weeks, and I am optimistic that we can work and we can have players to improve in all things, defence and attack.

on Joe Willock and if he has a big future…

Yes, it’s very good news. He’s young, he has energy he has quality, skill. He is hungry for helping us to be here. It’s a good decision for him and for us.

on VAR and what he makes of the reports of four mistakes…

It’s not my responsibility and I respect their opinion.

on if he likes VAR…

Yes.

on Quique Sanchez Flores being appointed…

They finished with Javi Gracia, they did a very great season last year and now they signed a very great coach also with Quique Sanchez Flores.

on his relationship with Quique Sanchez Flores…

Yes, we played against him and his teams are very organised teams. He has a good experience here also in England, in the Premier League, with adapting with Watford and I respect him a lot.

on if he was surprised to see Gracia go…

It’s football. He’s a very, very great coach.

on how it will change Watford having Quique Sanchez Flores in charge…

I think now he’s going to know the team, the players and he knows some players because he trained them three years ago and I think he is also going to be good also.

on if he is worried about the ‘new manager bounce’…

I really respect every coach. I think now with Quique Sanchez Flores, they are going to continue working well like they were doing with Javi Gracia. We are going to respect them and prepare for the match thinking of us in the beginning and after, respecting them with their characteristics. After, some things can change. Watford are going to be the same in their great spirit like a team and also they are going to push a lot in Watford with their supporters. They have very good players.

on the captaincy situation…

We spoke this morning about that and in the next week we are going to take the decision on the five captains.

on when we will find out about the captaincy group…

We spoke about that with the team this morning and I am going to decide to make it official in the next week.

on if that means we will have a main captain next week…

We have a captain now.

on Dani Ceballos and his future…

Every player when they come to a new competition and a new team, they need some adaptation. He is playing, he played for example in Liverpool and he told us that he knew in that moment how difficult it is to play in the Premier League, above all against a team like Liverpool. That’s good. He recognises he needs that adaptation. In each match, each training, it’s very important for him to adapt faster with us, with the new idea, with the new team and new team-mates and opposing teams. Really, his wish is very important for helping us and giving us his skills and his quality for each training and each match.