Press conference

Emery - It was a very emotional match

A moment of reflection for Emiliano Sala, the return of Mesut Ozil and the latest on Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ fitness.

Those topics all came up in Unai Emery’s press conference following our 2-1 win over Cardiff City.

Here’s what our head coach said:

on the game…
Good evening. The first half, if one team deserved to score then maybe it was them. The best thing to do in this moment when we were in the dressing room was to speak about it. The first half at 0-0 was good for us because we conceded chances to them and they didn’t score. But we had the opportunity to change this situation in the second half and we had to play in that second half with patience because we knew this match was not easy. They play well in one against one in all areas of the pitch and it’s not easy to play or find space in these duels. In the first half this happened a lot. But then in the second half, also in the 90 minutes, the individuals working hard can become tired in some moments. IN the second half, with our patience, we found the best offensive solutions to score and to win this match.

on how he approached the game under the circumstances…
Firstly, we have respect for the situation for them, and above all our thoughts are with Emiliano Sala, his family, his friends, Cardiff City and his ex-club Nantes. I played in France for two years against him. It wasn’t a close relationship because he was an opposition player, but I understand above all that the coach spoke with him before he signed with them and it’s very difficult afterwards to prepare for this situation. Last week I was thinking, ‘Maybe today we cannot play’ but the decision is continuing, continuing to find Emiliano Sala, continuing the competition. It was very emotional match today and they worked amazingly in a hard moment. We can only say that our thoughts are with them.

on Mesut Ozil’s performance…
Another journalist asked me the same question. He’s in the four captains with Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey. No 5 is Granit Xhaka, so it’s normal. When, for example, Koscielny’s injured and can come back to play, he’s captain. It’s the same with Mesut. He didn’t play some matches but it’s the same in the captain group.

on Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ injury…
I don’t know now. We can recover some players I think, but we need to know tomorrow in training, then Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We have five days to wait and see which which players can play on Sunday. I hope some players can be back with us after injuries. We need to wait.