One of the most noticeable aspects of Unai Emery's reign so far has been the progress taken by a number of our players.
But what is the secret to getting the best out of the squad - and each individual?
"I try to encourage the players to be more demanding," Emery explained. "One of the first things we looked at with the players was the idea of training for training’s sake, training to compete and training to win. Those are three different steps and very often players do them subconsciously.
"We needed to suppress the idea of training for training’s sake, boost the focus on training to compete and – most of all – train to win. Training to win is the final competitive step, and that was what was most required in terms of individual development and the development of the team.
"You want development and improvement from all players. Obviously, when you have a squad of 25 players, you’re not going to be able to achieve that with all of them because at the end of the day you’re not able to give all of them the consistency of opportunity so that they all move in the same direction.
"That said, you need to get the best out of the individual players in training and then implement that in the matches. It’s more noticeable with some players because the players more and have the capacity to do so, and perhaps because they’ve also found new impetus.
"The players that play the most are the ones that seem to have the most scope for development, but I’m convinced that they all have the ability to develop – not just because I’m saying it, it’s what any coach would say. That’s our idea.
"In the case of Xhaka, I knew him before. The first thing was to find his best position and characteristics, but he also wants to improve and that’s the first step – that the players want it. It’s not about training for training’s sake. It’s about training to win or to improve. Today, tomorrow and the next day."
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