Press conference

Emery on criticism, home form, Vitoria: transcript

Unai Emery was in bullish form on Wednesday as he faced the media ahead of our Europa League clash against Vitoria.

Our head coach discussed the criticism he has faced since the defeat at Sheffield United, our good home form and what he expects from the Portuguese side.

Read on for a full transcript:

on the performances in the Europa League...
Good afternoon, we are trying to prepare for each match thinking about how we can win and improve. Every competition is very important for us. The Premier League is first for us but the Europa League is also important for us and is a way of showing how we are improving. We want to finish first in our group and do something important in the Europa League. Each match is very important to use different players to play and show how we are progressing. It's going to be important for us.

on the freedom the team has shown in the Europa League...
We used a lot of different players to find out how we can achieve the best performance with them. Then we can also make some changes in the Europa League and Premier League, thinking every time about the injuries or problems with some players. Having lots of players available to play will help us get that performance we need in each competition.

on whether this team is better than Wenger's last season...
In my career, it's normal to have criticism of our work in the difficult moments, of my job, our team, the players. On one hand, we have the supporters and their opinion, and we need to accept that. My focus is improving in the next match, seeing how we can improve on things. Also, it's how we can little by little get ahead, doing our steps in that way, progressing and achieving our immediate target. That's winning tomorrow. We also want to improve things. We are at the beginning of this season and we have won two matches playing very well in this competition, with very good results. We lost a very big opportunity in the Premier League on Monday to finish third in the table. We are now fifth, so we have another chance on Sunday. We know we can improve and we need to improve, so we have to get better in our way. It's one process and here the most important thing is our strategy. Our strategy is, when I was watching the games in my office last season, we changed 10 players out of the 24 players we had. That's 40 per cent, more or less. We are now using new players and some young players to give them chances, to give them confidence playing for the future. We want to have that performance with them. With that process, I'm happy. I'm disappointed in the result on Monday because we had a very good opportunity to win three points. We are in our way and we need to have one strategy. The most important thing is the team and the club, and also that our objective is clear. It's about where we want to get to, where we want to arrive. We are at the beginning and I am very confident. I have belief in the players, in our work, the club's strategy, in every player and in our way with our job.

on whether his best back four is on the bench...
We are improving defensively, we are conceding less goals. That's one objective we're [achieving]. But I don't want to achieve that best performance only with one system or with the same four players. In the Europa League we are using different players and they are also improving our defensive moment. It's for all the players. Above all, I want to continue to be an offensive team, but improve defensively. Our mentality is to be offensive. I am going to get that balance little by little, but now we are becoming a more competitive team, we are improving defensively and we want for the next step to be to keep our offensive capacity. I think we are going to do that. After Monday, we can be disappointed but we've got another chance in 24 hours.

on whether criticism hurts...
I remember last year at Wolves, a very similar system at 5-3-2. Different team, but defensively very strong. We spoke about that. Last year we lost 3-0 at Wolves, and we lost all our balance in 30 minutes. On Monday, the first penalty was clear and then the chances were for us. If we scored one goal, maybe the match is different. But they scored it because we conceded a lot of corners to them. We had a lot of corners, 12, but then we lost in the balance of seven corners for them, and they scored. Then we tried, and we had chances to score and get a minimum of a draw - but we didn't do it. The 90 minutes happened but we can't predict what will happen. Our response could be better, but we had a good attitude, a good mentality. Now we have to show in the next match that we can improve.

on what he expects from Vitoria...
We respect them. They are fourth in the table [in Portugal] and are a very competitive team. They lost the first two games but the games were close. Tomorrow we'll expect a difficult match. I think we are showing in Europa League a good performance and a good way in our idea to create and find our way for the future. We are playing compact, aggressively and defensively and offensively very good. We want to extend that tomorrow against Vitoria with respect but also by working to achieve the first position in this group. We have the opportunity to first get three points, and we want to get to nine points to be top of the group. You ask me how we play better and can improve, this is how we can do it. We want to feel good tomorrow and extend it for Sunday in the Premier League. We are feeling good in Emirates Stadium with our supporters. Sometimes we are winning with very good results, like against Nottingham Forest and Standard Liege, but sometimes we are struggling but still winning, like against Bournemouth and Aston Villa. Tomorrow we want to extend that good moment with a complete match.

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