Press conference

Emery on Saka, Willock and Smith Rowe


Unai Emery was a happy man at full-time in Germany, after watching his side inflict Frankfurt’s heaviest-ever home defeat in European competition.

At the final whistle he spoke to the media about the performance as a whole and praised the contributions of young trio Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.

Here’s a transcript of what he said…

on how he reflects on the game...
Good evening. We know that tonight's match was difficult because they are very strong at home and they're a very offensive team. Defensively, we needed to work sometimes deep, sometimes with the full backs very deep because they attack a lot and cross to their striker. We spoke and we worked on our transition because if we were organised defensively and had good pressing against them, we could recover the ball in the spaces. We did that. We have the possibility of using the young players, of giving them chances, to help them take their chances to play and share that opportunity with experienced players. Their performance tonight was good. We played in our way, with them, with our experienced players and our spirit. We showed that tonight. 

on Bukayo Saka...
Maybe with his goal, maybe with his performance during the match, he took confidence in his finishing and was strong physically. Also, it's the same with Emile. After his injury, tonight he played for the first time for us this season and he did well. Willock was aggressive in the midfield and worked well in the space. Progressively he got better throughout the game and gave a good performance. Some other players like Lucas Torreira and Chambers worked a lot. Everybody can be happy. After, it's about continuing. This competition is a very big challenge for us and we're excited to do something important. After tonight's good result against a big team, I think that's important.

on what he said to Emile when he was replaced...
With him, we need to do more work with him on the pitch and outside. Last year, he started well with us and played some matches. After, he left he on loan to Germany and then when he came back he was injured. He played some matches with the under-23s, so today was big challenge for him. It was a big opportunity but also we needed to protect him. He worked very well and I was very happy with him. I told him that.

on Frankfurt having more shots...
We analysed them and they're a very offensive team. They played with three centre backs but their full backs get forward. We know they are always going to demand lots from us defensively, but our pressing for the most part was very good pressing against them. All our transition play helped us to have chances, and we created those. After, defensively, we needed to work because they had danger from their full backs, their striker, from corners, and they shoot a lot because they have a lot of players going forward.

on Lucas Torreira playing further forward...
Tonight he played very well and this season it's the first match that he was feeling physically very good in. He was able to go from box to box and I want to use his quality. His qualities are that he can give us good pressing, and he can win the ball high up the pitch to give us the possession to score. He did that tonight. After, we need someone with the ball and in his position, he can help us with the build-up.

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