Press conference

Emery - Two big reasons we will respect Qarabag

Unai Emery

We may have been installed as heavy favourites to beat Qarabag in Baku on Thursday, but Unai Emery is sure the hosts will provide a stern test.

Our head coach has studied our opponents in detail and believes they have the ability to cause us problems if we underestimate them.

This is what he told the media on Wednesday:

on the travel and how seriously we are taking the game…
It’s very important for us in this competition. We are giving each competition our best preparation, our best performance and the travel is long, but it’s not an excuse.

on whether Bernd Leno or Emi Martinez will play…
The best idea is to think only of the match tomorrow and with the respect for this competition because we want, at the end, to finish first in the group. We want to win tomorrow with the best players for playing. We are very happy with Leno and I want to then give him confidence to continue playing. Emi Martinez also can play. [On Thursday] we will tell the players the first XI but today I want every player thinking that they will play tomorrow to help us to win this match.

on whether he would be surprised if Qarabag get something from the game...
With Qarabag, we have a lot of respect for them. They started with a good performance against Sporting Lisbon in Lisbon in the first match. They lost 2-0 but they gave a very good performance against them, with good players and also with good spirit and good tactical intentions in the game. I remember also, last year here, Atletico Madrid there were two matches against them. They could not win. It’s for me, two very good examples for us to have the respect for them. Also we have the confidence in our players to do the best performance tomorrow and also with our work, we can have a great match with a good performance for thinking only to win and to do one good match.

on the Fulham game on Sunday and whether he has had conversation with the Premier League about the schedule…
I had a very different experience, when you play Wednesday or Thursday and then Saturday or Sunday. There are very few days to recover physically and also the mentality of the players to play again in a few hours another match. In this experience, I won, I lost and I played better in the second match. We are one team with every player with this experience and also with the habit to play, to recover for another match and continue playing. It’s the reason, for me, that I prefer more time to have to recover physically for the players. But for me, it’s good and we are okay tomorrow with every player to play. We are going to be also perfect to play against Fulham on Sunday.

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