Press conference

Emery on Leicester, Xhaka, Auba: full transcript

Unai Emery was asked about a range of subject at his press conference at London Colney on Friday.

Our head coach discussed the match at Leicester, Granit Xhaka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and more.

This is what he said:

on team news...
Good afternoon. Yes [Dani Ceballos] has a small injury and is going to be out for tomorrow.

on the rest of the squad...
The rest of the squad, I think they are ready for tomorrow. We are going to train this afternoon and I am thinking, I am speaking with the doctor, they are ready.

on how tough Leicester will be...
They are doing very well. They have started the season with a lot of confidence and also they are improving with each result. Now they have a six-point difference with us and tomorrow is a very big challenge, a very good opportunity also for them and for us. I am looking forward to seeing how we can respond tomorrow.

on whether Granit Xhaka will come into the squad...
Not yet.

on what the reason is...
I spoke with him. I spoke with him on Tuesday about how he's feeling now and how he is in his mind. He's working well, he's training well, but he said to me that he's not feeling good enough at the moment to play. We are going to wait.

on whether Mesut Ozil could start...
He's training well and I think he's now being consistent in the training, he's also helping and he's also positive. I am thinking about him for tomorrow, for the possibility to play.

on why he chose to appoint Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the new captain...
He's the captain. Above all, I can remember how we did the process because last year the captains were Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal. They left the team - at the last moment as well, Koscielny. In that moment I decided, and also I used the characteristics to find a captain. After I started with Granit Xhaka because he has the quality to take the captain's responsibility. Then after the issue, I decided it was better for him not to. Next in line is Aubameyang. The second after him is Bellerin, third is Lacazette and the fourth is Mesut Ozil. The first is Aubameyang because he has experience and he has the respect in the dressing room. He was the top scorer last year in the Premier League and also I know he needs time to take that responsibility 100 per cent. But we are going to support him. Every player, we are going to support the four captains, and we are going to support him as our first captain because he has also made one extra step to achieve that responsibility.

on if it gives Auba more pressure...
But for example, yesterday Sokratis said everybody can take responsibility as a captain. We want to be a strong family here and I know for the supporters it is very important who is the first face, in front, with the captain's responsibility. I decided to give it to Auba and everybody also agreed with that decision and now I am telling you he needs time to take that responsibility with confidence, but we give him that confidence, I give him that confidence. He has the quality and the values to do perfectly with that responsibility.

on lacking confidence in defence...
We need to improve and also we are in one process. They are having a lot of things, first we are speaking about the captain's circumstances, then also some circumstances with some players - with Sead Kolasinac and with Mesut Ozil - then also circumstances that didn't help us with Granit Xhaka. For example, we're losing one player at the moment, Granit Xhaka, who is important for us and the way we play, but I have confidence in the players and in our work. I know we are in one process and we are speaking with the club about the responsibility of the club, and they are supporting us, and the players are supporting me. We know we are taking one responsibility with the young players, but the young players need one process to achieve that responsibility and their performance in the team, but we are helping them. For example, it’s very good news for me about how we are improving Bukayo Saka, but he needs to play, play and play to take more confidence and experience to achieve his future we think he has. Then with other players it’s the same. Pepe is coming, but with Pepe it’s also an adaptation that he’s doing little-by-little better, but also he needs more because it’s not easy for him and it’s not easy for a new player like Ceballos to achieve the best performance. We are in that process and also I know we need to play better and achieve better results. We lost some points at home, but we didn’t lose at home. We lost some important points. We can feel really, really strong at home with good performances and good results. Also we are going to extend that away and we are going to get that performance and strong confidence. Tomorrow is a very big opportunity. After two matches at home that we drew, tomorrow is a very good opportunity. Yesterday the players worked and trained very well with a good spirit and they give me confidence.

on if he has spoken to the board about his future...
No, no. No. We are speaking about our process and continuing working. They didn't show me some doubt.

on conceding 35 shots on goal in recent home games...
I think at home we are faring well but not with the performance as we will do for the next matches. Those two results, twO draws, weren't the best results also. Last year, those two teams also gave us a lot of problems at home and we took only one point against those two teams. But I was speaking with the players this week about how is our next step to improve. And it's clear, there are two ways: play better with the ball, play with more confidence with our style, and take more responsibility on the pitch. My responsibility is the first but also I give them because they are on the pitch to take that responsibility to play better. And then is for our defensive structure to be strong and get better defensively is our first challenge tomorrow. Last year, we were looking for that improvement during the season and we achieved it in a lot of moments - and I know now we can do better and we will do better.

on if this game is a must-win...
Must-win? Yes. We need to win and it's very important for us tomorrow. But our mentality is every time to play first, using our best structure and organisation to be strong and also our individual players to use their quality to win. But in our mind, for each match it is only to win.

on Brendan Rodgers backing him publicly...
Brendan Rodgers is a very good manager and he is doing very good work, as he did here in England with Swansea, with Liverpool and also Glasgow Celtic. He arrived here last year and his team was improving progressively and this year I think it's no surprise for me. It's a very good team with a very good coach and they are a very organised team. We are taking, as a good moment, sometimes as a bad result, but the most important is to keep the balance. I think as a coach I learned that, in my mind to be with that balance when we win, when we lose. For me it's not to play tomorrow under pressure, it's to play under a very big opportunity to change that. We are drawing the last matches, we can see those matches negatively because we didn't win or positively because we didn't lose. We are in the balance, but we when you are a team like Arsenal we need to win more than draw or lose.

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