Press conference

Emery's press conference: read every word

Unai Emery at Brighton
Unai Emery at Brighton

It was a frustrating evening on the south coast as we were held to a 1-1 draw by Brighton & Hove Albion.

Afterwards, Unai Emery faced the media to discuss the game, his substitutions, the race for the top four and more. Read on for a full transcript:

on what went wrong after a good start…

Good evening. Yes, I think the key to the match today was the first 45 minutes, when we controlled the match as we wanted to. We scored and we had the advantage, with another two good chances for Aubameyang to get the second. Their goalkeeper saved with two good actions and from then, they equalised. In the second half we tried again to control the match, to create the chances, but we didn’t do that. We had control with possession but not with creating chances against them. It wasn’t enough to win the game today.

on why he thinks his substitutions didn't make an impact today...

Tactically, some matches I did that and I wanted to control it better with the positioning on the pitch. But in the second half we couldn't do our ideas on the pitch for imposing ourselves and this imposing positioning can give us more options in attacking moments to score. We created less chances in the second half and not clear [chances].

Heatmap - first 30 mins v Brighton (a)

We dominated the opening half hour, but Brighton's equaliser changed the course of the game

on if he regrets taking off Ozil…

It’s only tactical - we’ve changed the idea at half-time in other matches, with other players. Today I thought to do it with Mesut, but it’s only tactical - not another problem.

on what happened with the water bottle…

I apologised, because I kicked the bottle in one disappointing action for us in the last minute. I didn’t kick it hard but it touched one supporter and I said sorry to them.

on how frustrating the nature of the equaliser was…

It’s football. We are in our process and we are improving. We are wanting to take one stability in offence and defence. It’s a difficult moment for us because we have injuries, but it’s an opportunity for other players and I want also to look at other players playing in the big games, like today, and on Saturday against Liverpool. It’s closing one option for an injured player, but it’s opening [the door] for another play to come with us and play. We need that, and also to use different tactics and systems, because we can change players’ positions. We finished with Xhaka playing at centre back to help Lichtsteiner and give Ainsley more chances to go forward in more attacking moments, because his quality is more for that. But our process… I think this draw is not the best but also not the worst. We have another match on Saturday. We’re thinking about that, about recovering the players to be OK and to look at how Koscielny is, how Mustafi is, if he’s OK for Saturday. While we are near the top four, I can have a big motivation. Today is for me very important. We’ve spoke about our motivation and our progression [the three points would have been very important] - but football is like that. In 90 minutes, we drew and we need to [think] for Saturday.

on why he took off Alexandre Lacazette while drawing the game...

But I think also that Aaron Ramsey deserved to play, he deserved to take responsibility also because he wants to help us. I think Aaron Ramsey played a good match today in this moment.

The boys celebrate Auba's opener at Brighton

Lacazette assisted Aubameyang for the fourth time this season

on whether he feels confident that we can make the top four...

I think for us, it's best to think of the next match. Also to continue working in our process. It's very important for us to go into the Champions League, but we need to do one process, to do one more established team and to be stronger. We also need time to do that. But football is the next match and we are going to think of Saturday in Liverpool. It's a big match, but we are here and we are also close for the top four and we can continue in our way, thinking match-to-match and thinking also that we can do better than today. Matches like today or like Southampton, where we create more chances than the opposition, we could finish better in these moments and this is our work.

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