Interview

Emery on the comeback, Xhaka, Laca: transcript

Emery

Unai Emery had mixed emotions following out north London derby draw with Tottenham on Sunday.

Our head coach was pleased with many aspects of our display, yet left frustrated only to get a point from the match.

This is what he told the media afterwards:

on the comeback...
Good evening. Obviously after [being 2-0 down] we can be very proud of our response and also the atmosphere we created, and how our supporters pushed us to get back in the game after we scored, to get the second goal and then to have chances to score a third goal. Above all, the result, we deserved more. Also, we controlled the second half better than the first half. Tactically, the first goal is one mistake because we played that action more with our hearts than our heads. We had two players trying to win the ball from Harry Kane and we needed to go with one, and the other with the cover. In the second half we did that work perfectly but you concede one of these actions and they have very good players to score. The second goal is the same, one mistake. It's frustration after the first goal. After the first 20, 25 minutes it was very good at the beginning. That second goal gave us difficult moments but the players worked very well to recover the result for us and our fans. We created a very good atmosphere. The game was amazing for the football but for us it's not enough. I am very proud of our work, our players and our supporters. We need to continue working to develop the balance defensively in that moment. Today we played going against them and finding our option in the attacking third to score and win the match.

on Matteo Guendouzi's performance...
He's very young but he's progessing. Last year was amazing for his progress, taking confidence, taking rhythm and knowing the Premier League. This year he's starting to give us one step more tactically with the ball. He gives us a lot of control and also the combinations for us mean he's very important in the team. He's one of the key players to do that. He's working to get a balance defensively and also working on his body to get stronger in the situations needed in the Premier League. Today was one step more but he's very demanding of himself and we're progressing with him. When he's playing like today, I prefer to have the balance. When he's playing maybe a match with less performance, I want to help him to achieve the next step going ahead.

on how important it is to get the balance defensively...
We played a lot with our heart. In the first half, the first goal is conceded because we were working with two players on Harry Kane. He can flick it on. It's the same with one player or two. We need to have the cover. The second half, we did that perfectly. In the first half, that action on the first goal meant we didn't control our heart. We worked that action with our heart and they made us pay for that action to score. The second goal is maybe the frustration from the first goal. The penalty... We need to also be clever in our box. There are more positives than negatives in 90 minutes. I am going to be optimistic and also I am very proud of the work, of our players. We will take those mistakes and improve.

on Granit Xhaka's tackle...
In 90 minutes, I'm very proud of his work. Some mistakes we can have, I want to use them to progress, to learn and improve. There are a lot more positive things individually and collectively, and also with Xhaka for me. The penalty incident is a disappointing action but he played very well and worked very well. If we win that match, maybe we are speaking about that mistake less, but really there were two mistakes in the first half and they scored from both of them. In the second half, I think we spoke in the dressing room about that, and we learned and we did well in the second half. We continued to get the ball, we continued to take a lot of corners, taking a lot of shots, but we didn't get the positions to score the goal. I think we deserved a third goal.

on midfield options adding to pressure when a player makes a mistake...
Having players, like for example today, ready to play in this match, like Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang, we need to also take the balance in midfield. We need creativity and cover, and with our ideas and style, also good pressing agains the other team. I think we did very good work. Sometimes maybe the balance needs to improve but mostly we did well. Lucas worked amazingly well and after I decided to change him for Ceballos to give the team a fresh player and also use his capacity to help in attacking moments. Every player is working very well. Matteo, Lucas, Ceballos when he came on, Xhaka... we made some mistakes, yes it's true, but there are a lot of positives to speak about for the team.

on whether Alex Lacazette has a hamstring injury...
Yes, I think so. It's not [severe].