Press conference

Emery on Deeney’s red card and his tactics

Unai Emery gave his verdict on the big talking points when he sat down to face the media shortly after our 1-0 win at Watford.

On the agenda: Troy Deeney’s red card, his second-half tactical changes and the form of Bernd Leno.

Read on for a full transcript from Unai’s press conference:

on the red card…
Good evening. I didn’t see the red card. I leave the decision for the referee. It’s clear it helped us, with the decisions, because we played with one more player from then on. It’s more difficult for them. But our goal gave us the advantage in the first half and after the red card also. It helped us to take more control of the game, but we didn’t do all we wanted to do. But we can be happy with the result, because playing here is very difficult.

on if Deeney said something to him...
I don't know. Only that. It's not important. I didn't listen to him really. I didn't listen to him really and I only answered him to say I don't know.

on what the thinking was behind his tactical changes during the match...
First I decided to do the change of Lucas Torreira because after the red card, the atmosphere is against him and also the doctor said to me in the first half that he has a little pain for Thursday and I decided okay, it's the moment [to take him off]. We played with the same system - 4-2-3-1 - with Xhaka and Aaron coming closer to Xhaka for the build-up and Mesut behind Auba as a midfielder. We didn’t control like I wanted to control the match. We are thinking and I was thinking to play with three centre backs to be enough for our build-up and use one player more in the middle, like Matteo as a possibility to help with Xhaka, help with Aaron and Mesut, to give the security in the midfield. But I didn't do this decision on the pitch with all the control I wanted, so after I changed and recovered a 4-2-3-1 with Ainsley. Above all, also in our team, the second half they can take some moments and the possibility to score in set-pieces or a long ball and a second action. We worked very well on set-pieces and the long balls with second actions but the most important for us was to score the second goal to control the match.

on if the players are all okay...
Yes. At the end the doctor said to me that they are okay. Only in the first half with his small injury, Lucas Torreira, but I think it's small and he can be ready for Thursday physically. It was a very physical match today but I think we can respond well and above all the result gives us the opportunity to continue in our way, being consistent in the table.

on what Lucas' issue is...
It's the same problem as Thursday, it's a small pain and I think he is going to be okay for Thursday.

on winning in a physical battle and if that's pleasing...
Yes. The three points is I think the most important thing today but also, I think we worked well being consistent in our structure, defending their long balls and set-pieces. Here they are a very strong team at doing that. After, with the ball I wanted to do better, I wanted to control better with the possession of the ball and with one player more on the pitch. We didn’t do that, but in some attacking moments for us, we took chances to score the second goal and didn’t score. We needed to defend in the last minutes, very close with everybody to their good action in the long balls, and the second action to be good in defensive moments.

on Javi Gracia...
He is doing a big job here and congratulations for them, for Watford, to reach the final of the FA Cup and also for this season. We know today that to win here was very important, but difficult, but they showed us they are hard, they are strong with their job.

on Leno's improvement...
Yes, he is really playing with confidence and is helping us a lot. I think Bernd is competitive with Cech and also now we are giving them two competitions, the Premier League for Leno and the Europa League for Petr Cech. They are both giving us a lot in goal.

on Carl Jenkinson and what he needs to do to get in the team...
He is working well.

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