Press conference

‘He feels Arsenal… it was good to work with him’

Unai Emery will miss working with Aaron Ramsey because the Wales midfielder’s heart is “red with Arsenal”.

Ramsey has been ruled out for the rest of the season with the hamstring injury he suffered in Naples, and that was top of the agenda when our head coach faced the media on Wednesday.

Another hot topic was the first leg of our semi-final against Valencia - one of Emery’s former clubs - and you can read a transcript of the press conference right here:

on his favourite Valencia memories…
Good afternoon. They’re a big team with a great history and also a lot of experience. Tomorrow this semi-final is 50:50. I think we can enjoy this round and I think for the two teams it’s a very important moment. We have respect between us. A big respect.

on the difference between Valencia Unai and Arsenal Unai…
I’m now older! The same. My career is about thinking about progressing and learning every day. I was there for four years and I enjoyed it. I worked, I learned, I had some very good moments. I also have a lot of friends there, my son and some other big parts of my life.

on Ramsey being out for the season…
Yes, he is important for us. We cannot use him and the danger is always there for a forward player like that. We have players who can play [in that position] but he was in a good moment when he had this injury.

on what it was like to work with Ramsey…
For me it was a good experience [to work] with every player and with him especially, because he can transmit his energy and he showed me his heart is red with Arsenal. I wanted to enjoy with him… I said to him one month ago that I wanted to do something important in his last matches with us at the moment - maybe he can come back in the future. It will not be with him on the pitch but he is still with us.

on how he lifts his team out of bad form for such an important game...
Our focus is now the next match and only thinking of this first leg. But also thinking that we are going to play next week, out there, the second leg. We need to be very focused on this round. We are also in the Premier League with our possibilities for top four. I think we are in a great moment to enjoy working, working hard, focusing hard on our mindset to each moment and each moment is to do the training, tomorrow the match. I think the players are very concentrated and very focused for that, today the training was good and I am positive with the players, with the team, for our moment.

on if this is now our best chance of Champions League qualification...
We need to use each moment for all our possibilities. Tomorrow against Valencia is the first.

on why he's been so successful in Europe with home and away games during his career, in comparison to our away league form this season...
Yes, but for me it's about the present. Football in the past you can learn from, you can have to take experience but after is to do a new way. A new way with new history and I want to create a new history here with all the competitions. Now it's the Europa League. The Europa League is our way for one title and our way for the possibility to be in the Champions League. We have now two possibilities. One is in the Premier League and we have this possibility not in our hands, but we have a really good possibility if we win and secondly we have the Europa League. We want to win and we want to enjoy, to create this semi-final like something important. We need our supporters and we need to create a big atmosphere tomorrow in Emirates and we are very excited and with big enthusiasm for the match tomorrow. We are looking forward to playing, to being with our supporters, to doing the first leg's 90 minutes with a big performance and with a good result. But we know it's going to be very difficult also. I think we need all. We need the players, we need spirit, we need energy, we need our supporters.

on if he prepares for it in the same way...
For me, each match is usually the same preparation. The first is the thinking on our performance, 70 per cent. And after, is the 30 per cent for the opposition. But it does not change a lot. Usually it is like that. 

on whether Mesut Ozil will be fit…
We have a group of 20 players and he is in that group.

on whether players could be confused by formation changes…
But we changed it also before for the injuries and rotation, and we won, so when we did the same and we lost we cannot stop in this moment and not remember before. The first reason to change is because we had some injuries, for example Ramsey and Nacho, Mesut too, but we won and we lost with the same players, with one system and another system.

on if there’s any chance of Ramsey playing in the final...
At the moment we are only in the semi-final, and secondly the prognosis is not okay for this date.

on whether Ramsey will be at Thursday’s game…
He is with us this morning and also I spoke with him for two minutes yesterday. He is with us and he feels Arsenal, and he wants to enjoy the last matches with us.

on whether Ramsey is sad that he won’t be able to play…
Yes [he is sad about it], we spoke about that and the possibility to do something important, but the injuries are like that. It is the same for Bellerin, Holding and Danny Welbeck.

on what’s more important - a clean sheet or a lead?
You need to play 90 minutes thinking we are going to play another 90 minutes. It is not all finished tomorrow. If you can win, it’s good, if you can win without conceding a goal, it’s perfect. We need to manage 90 minutes and be solid, be strong and be clear in our minds with the possibilities with the result. Our idea tomorrow is to win.

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