Interview

Emery's pre-match interview: read the transcript

Unai Emery

Unai Emery sat down with the media at London Colney on Friday as he prepares for his first experience of a north London derby.

Our head coach discussed the match itself, how he rates Tottenham, Mesut Ozil and more in a wide ranging interview.

Read on to find out what he said:

on whether he’s exceeded his own expectations…
It’s a different match on Sunday against Tottenham, but the derby for every supporter is different. For us it’s the same but also with a cool head and our thinking on three points. In the last matches we drew and also Tottenham have a three point lead over us, and we will do a lot of things to prepare for a difficult game and a tough match, but we need to deliver the best performance to win.

on whether Ozil will play on Sunday…
I don’t know because tomorrow is the last training, but every player is very important with their qualities. We need to continue preparing and continue improving in our work and as a team with bigger performances and individual quality. I will prepare for the match with every player.

on what he’s expecting from Tottenham on Sunday…
For us they’re playing in every match with good preparation and also thinking we’re going to play a lot of matches. But we’re only thinking match to match and preparing match to match. On Sunday the derby, with our supporters and also three points on the table that we need there is a lot of positive things for our motivation to be very, very high.

on where the game will be won or lost on Sunday…
I am positive usually before playing matches and I think on Sunday our only possibility is to win

on his relationship with Mauricio Pochettino…
We meet sometimes and we’ve spoken. We have a good relationship.

on Pochettino calling him an unbelievable manager…
Every coach wants to do the best with their players, their teams. Then you want your team to have your personality and I think we can recognise Tottenham from his characteristics. His career is improving with each year and with each team, and I think now Tottenham is one of the best teams in the Premier League. They’re like Manchester City and Chelsea. In the four or five years of working with Pochettino, they have improved a lot.

on what makes Pochettino a top coach…
For me, he’s a coach who has a lot of respect from other coaches. I can learning from watching Tottenham’s game and from watching his characteristics.

on how much he’s looking forward to his first North London derby…
For me, I’m thinking about our supporters and making their lives very special on Sunday with a very big victory for us. We also know that our responsibility is to prepare for the match against a big team with big players.

on what makes this kind of match so special…
Each match for me is very special. The derby is perhaps more special because my responsibility is bigger because of every supporter. Also we need three points in the league because we want to be closer to the other teams, like Tottenham, and we have this challenge.

on what the atmosphere will be like…
It’s good. Every match at the Emirates is a very big match. We can watch different games there but it always has a very big atmosphere with our supporters. On Sunday I know that if one friend is asking me if I have a ticket for Sunday, it’s not possible because it’s full.

on what Arsenal have been working on in training to improve defence…
We’re in a process and we’re in our own way to improve. We know we need time but at the moment I’m very happy with how they are responding in training and in each match as well. For example, yesterday we kept a clean sheet. Our objective every match is to improve things. It’s also about continuing our quality in attacking moments to continue scoring and being the best team at doing that in the Premier League. We also need to do better and not concede as many chances.

on how impressed he was with Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock…
They have been training with us since the beginning of pre-season and they are still with us every day in training. We can give them chances to play like yesterday, and I think that’s good. Then it’s one process. Sometimes they are better, then sometimes they can’t produce that big performance because maybe the match is too difficult. They can learn from this though, to get experience and confidence. Yesterday, they made a good step in their process and also helped us at the same time.