Press conference

Emery on Nicolas Pepe, the win, Ozil: transcript


Unai Emery was full of praise for Nicolas Pepe after our record signing scored two superb free kicks to seal a late win against Vitoria.

Speaking to the press, our head coach discussed the performance, what the game will do for the Ivorian's confidence and more. 

Read on for a full transcript:

on whether it was a relief...

Good evening. Lots of things happened in the 90 minutes. Firstly I want to speak about this competition. In the Europa League, those three points are very important for us because our logic is to finish first in that group. Over 90 minutes, we struggled more in the first half than we wanted. We lost a lot of balls in midfield and gave them chances in the transition to score and to start winning the game. In the second match, I think we controlled it better. We created chances but our attack was playing more with their emotion and heart tonight than with control, or with shape on the pitch. We weren't as organised in the attack. It's important. Two goals from Pepe were fantastic and to finish with the win... I think we deserved to win but they played really well. We know that every Portuguese team is very organised and they also have good structure, with good players. I remember when I played against Portuguese teams, every Portuguese team was difficult. Last year, we drew against Sporting 0-0. I was talking to Edu about that beforehand. It was difficult to win. Also, we used different players and some players were maybe more nervous than normal tonight, but it's experience for them. Also, in this competition, when we have two victories already, I want to play with different players to give them confidence and minutes. I want them to have experience. There are more positive things than negatives, but I want to take the positive things tonight for the next matches and the next match in this competition.

on Nicolas Pepe's set-pieces...

Every player, usually, they need time to adapt. Pepe is a very good player and we believe in him, totally. The way he's going, sometimes he feels better, sometimes it's with more difficulty on the pitch. It depends on the opponent. He's improving and tonight those two goals are really important for us first, and then secondly for him. He's continuing the adaptation in his process and as soon as he can adapt, that's better for us.

on what the goals do for Pepe's confidence...

We are very happy for him and for us because those two goals, from two set-pieces, were perfect. He was trying a lot of set-piece shooting on the training ground last week and I was watching his shooting, because I was also positive in that situation when we can have players like Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ceballos or others to shoot. The most important thing is the three points and that some individual players can improve, that they can take confidence for us and for them.

on why Mesut Ozil wasn't in the squad...

Tonight is not the day to speak about that.

on whether Ozil has a future at Arsenal...

I prefer to speak about the match. We have all the players who played.

on fans asking about Ozil...

He's not in the squad. That is the decision tonight. Now we are going to work towards Sunday.

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