Press conference

Emery on Chelsea, Baku, Ozil: full transcript


Unai Emery was asked about a range of subjects on Tuesday as he faced the media at London Colney ahead of our Europa League final against Chelsea.

Our head coach discussed the situation regarding Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the game itself, Mesut Ozil and a London derby in Baku.

Read on for a full transcript:

on how preparations are going…
Good afternoon. We are preparing for this match like we did when we were in the international break. We trained for three days last week, of hard hard. Last weekend we had off and we started this morning ahead of the last nine days with a very clear focus on the final.

on his emotions leading into his fourth UEL final…
Each moment is different, each moment is a new history for me. It’s a new thing I want to create and to do. I want to do it here with Arsenal. Our experience is maybe important sometimes, but above all it’s about preparing with your players in each moment and also the opposition is different. We want to have a big ambition, a big motivation for this final. Above all, we want to live the moments like now, with our supporters, with the possibility of winning a title and the possibility of playing in the Champions League next year if we win. We want to enjoy this moment.

on Henrikh Mkhitaryan missing the final…
It’s bad news but we cannot do anything for this issue, it’s a very personal decision and we need to respect him. I don’t understand the political problems now, but I must respect [his decision].

on the Azerbaijani government saying Micki would be safe in Baku…
I can believe [them], but I know and I spoke this morning with Mkhitaryan and it’s a personal decision. I respect him. He wants to play to help us by being with the team but they spoke, both him and his family, and decided not to go.

on whether he has spoken to Mkhitaryan…
I spoke to him. I came from the Basque Country and we had a big political problem that finished five or six years ago, and I can understand it is a very personal decision for his family and also thinking in their country. I cannot push him to come with us because I respect him. For me, it is very important if he is with us for the match to help with his quality and capacity, but this issue is not in my hands, but I respect his decision 100 per cent.

on not many Arsenal fans being there…
I think our supporters want to come with us and enjoy with us in the stadium because there’s not a lot of time you can play in a final in Europe. Every supporter wants to enjoy with the team in this country, but Baku is very far, and they will have to fly because there is not a possibility to drive there. It is expensive too. I prefer to be with them, to enjoy it with them, to have a big atmosphere with our supporters. I know Arsenal has a lot of fans around the world and I think in Baku there will be a lot of supporters from other countries closer to Baku and the stadium will be full with 70,000 people and supporters. But really our supporters in London, who are with us at Emirates Stadium and also in the Premier League, I prefer for them to be with us too in this final.

on whether the game should have been moved to Wembley…
Only this responsibility is with Uefa’s welfare people and we can’t do anything about that. We played the final in Juventus Stadium and the Super Cup final in Cardiff, and the Europa League final in Tbilisi, and I enjoyed it with a big atmosphere from both teams. Now we are going to enjoy it with less supporters from Arsenal and Chelsea, but I hope the stadium will be full with a lot of football supporters, maybe some supporters of Arsenal and Chelsea, and above all I want to play this match with a big atmosphere and with a big emotion in the stadium. We cannot play here in London.

on if he’s always felt we have a great chance to win it…
To win one title is very difficult. I think we’ve worked very well in this competition and we enjoyed this competition in the first matches and also in the last rounds against Napoli and Valencia, two very tough matches. I saw in this competition that Chelsea have also been very focused and with a big motivation. Now to play for the title is very important for the two teams, because it’s a title. They are in the Champions League through the Premier League but we also have this possibility in the final. Above all, it’s one final. One title. Chelsea won this title a few years ago. We won - with our stuff - the title with Sevilla, but each moment, each match is a new history, a new possibility. My idea is to transmit the players and every supporter: we see this competition as an important competition for us. When you are working in football, the players, the coaches and the supporters want to play to feel special moments. This is one special moment. The focus is very clear for this match, [we want to] enjoy this match in the 90 minutes or more, or penalties. It’s very far to travel and [many of] our supporters and their supporters cannot travel from England to Baku, but the match is the same importance for both. [We want to] enjoy this moment.

on how disappointed he is that the final is in Baku...
We can’t speak about that individually, how we feel. But I think it’s most important to think that we want to play the final against Chelsea and we want to show our possibility to win one title. Yes, it’s not possible with Mkhitaryan. It’s not possible with all our supporters, as we want. But the final is very important. It’s a sham that not all the supporters can travel to Baku, but they are going to be here at home, enjoying with us through the TV. We need to know that and play for them.

on if this still feels like a London derby…
Yes, yes. I think it’s very special for two [reasons]. One is that we are two teams from London. It’s a derby and we are going to play away [from London] but we are going to feel the same. I think our rivalry is a big rivalry with Chelsea. In the last years, they’ve played with big performances and playing for titles. They won the Premier League two years ago and I think we need to battle against them, showing our possibilities and our capacity. Now I think in the Premier League, we finished two points behind them. Last year, they were in front of us, but our ambition and our way is to reduce the difference to them in all the competitions. Our first possibility [to do that], our first challenge is in this final.

on how he will get the young players ready for the final…
Through playing. We have used 30 players in this competition from the beginning until today. We are going to use them, they are training with us, they need to take confidence and rhythm to know our way. They are training to play with important players, but the young players need to play our way, and need to do our process. And they are doing that, when they play in this competition it is a big challenge and big opportunity for them. Now, they are with us, continuing, they can enjoy it with us. Maybe some of them can play, but all the time they are with us is to improve, watching and taking experience with us, and also being closer to the important players who have a big past in all the competitions like the Champions League or Europa League.

on a chance for Ozil to star in the final…
For every player, we need every player – we used 30 players in this competition and it is important to use all your players, your young players, your quality players your different capacity players. Mesut is very important for us, he has a very big experience in Europe and with the national team in important games. We are preparing with all of our players to be ready for the final. Mesut Ozil is working well, he is training well and we will need him.

on Petr Cech starting in goal…
I cannot sit here talking about Petr Cech, as we could be here one day, two days, three days speaking about him - and it would all be positive. I only know him this year but he is amazing. An amazing person and an amazing goalkeeper. He is experienced and his past in football is also. He is here because he deserves to be here and now his commitment with Arsenal is big, big, it is top. He played the last matches perfectly, with a big performance, and I want to enjoy this final with his career. I am privileged to coach him and we are going to do all our effort to win and to be together in this final.

on whether he will start…
My idea, and my way every match is to speak with the player when I decide if they are in the first 11, and at the moment I trust and believe in him. He played with a big performance and I could use him or I could use Leno, but above all I want to enjoy with all our players and a special moment with some players. I spoke with Aaron Ramsey, but he is injured, but it’s the same with Petr Cech; I want to deliver for him in his last match, playing or not.

on whether Cech could become a manager…
I don’t know, but I know he plays the drums! He is a special man. I want to play with him one day! I said that to him months ago. I said that to him, and it is amazing! One day in the Europa League were in BATE Borisov and they were asking him in Russian and I said, you understand Russian? He said yes coach! It was amazing! He can speak a lot of languages. I worked in Moscow and even I don’t know Russian!

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