Unai's first press conference

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Press conference

'Players will respond to the energy Unai brings'

Ivan Gazidis is unequivocal in his belief that the first-team squad will embrace the "new energy" that Unai Emery will bring to the club.

The Spaniard was appointed as our new head coach on Wednesday, and the chief executive fully expects him to make a big impact.

This is what he told the media:

on how big a rebuilding job Emery has…
All of our players will respond to the new energy that Unai brings. They will have somebody under whom they can improve their individual games and their collective game. If they embrace those challenges then the players we have today can be more successful in the future. I don't think anybody believes that sixth place is a place that a club the stature of Arsenal should be in. We need to look to improve that. How big a rebuilding job that is, is a discussion that we’ve started with Unai and a discussion that will continue. The ambition is to be in a position to be a candidate to win the biggest trophies in England and the biggest trophies across Europe. We’ve got to understand that that’s not just going to be done in one leap. It’s the result of focus, hard work, discipline, energy, commitment, will to win. That’s what we need to do. The players will embrace it and I strongly believe the energy Unai can bring with his qualities, they will embrace that as well. The challenge we have is very big. I’ve always said it’s the biggest challenge this club will face: to transition from one of the giants of the game in Arsène Wenger - and I maintain that. This is not an easy process. We’ve spent a lot of time building to this moment. It is not just about the last month or six weeks of the process around identifying recruiting Unai. It’s really been an ongoing process for a couple of years, building up the capabilities of the club: from the facilities to what we do with strength and conditioning, fitness, medical, psychology, analytics, scouting - all of these support services. This year, with the addition of Sven Mislintat as head of recruitment and Raul Sanllehi as head of football relations, we are working in a different way than we’ve worked in the past. It’s going to be a team effort to support Unai’s vision, supporting his energy finding ways we can help him to be successful.

on if it was too individual in the past…
I don’t say that. I’m not looking backwards now. This is a moment where we are turning a page and opening a new chapter in the history book of Arsenal. We are doing it in a new way, it’s true, but I’m not critical of the way things have been done. Our history under Arsène is absolutely fantastic and you will not hear me be critical of what’s gone before. But this is a new opportunity and we have to embrace it. Our first motto in 1886 was “forward” and now is the time for us to look forward and do it with confidence. I do believe that this is a fantastic football club. We’ve seen it through this process, with the number and the quality of people that were interested in trying to get this position. They understand what a special place this is. I believe that to the core of my soul. There’s a special feeling here and we need to re-capture that, get on the same page and push this club forward and get behind Unai and what he can do for this team. If we do that, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. 

on the transfer budget Emery will have to work with…
We don’t discuss our budgets publicly but we are a public company. If any of you want to have a look at our accounts, they are out there and it’s not that difficult to see. We run ourselves on a very clear and transparent model, which is self-sustaining. That’s the way we will continue to run ourselves. Anyone who wants to look at that should look at our accounts.

on if all of the public money would be available…
All the money has always been available… and all the resources of the club will be available for Unai to develop the team.

Press conference

Emery - The target is to challenge for the title

Unai Emery did not duck the question and was unequivocal in his answer: his aim is to challenge for the Premier League title and for us to be "among the best in Europe".

Our new head coach was clear and precise in laying out his objectives, and he also told the media about relishing taking on the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.

This is what he said: 

on his aims and targets…
I believe the players who are here, the objective is to work together, to work hard with this talent. The target is to be a candidate and to challenge for the title. It is very important for the club after two years outside the Champions League to work this way, to be the best club, the best team in the Premier League and also in the world.

on how big this challenge is…
It’s a great challenge. In my career, every year I’ve grown up with a new challenge. For me, the challenge is a dream come true.

on what would be success for him this season…
Developing - but how do you develop? I think that’s about battling for every title. That’s something that’s in Arsenal’s history, it’s in my history as well and I want that to continue. Our objective is to be among the best in Europe, so those are the two objectives. I also want the team to make the fans proud. I know they are already but I want them to be even more so.

on his plan to bring the Premier League and the Champions League to the club…
We want to work to improve individually and collectively all we can. All the titles are important for us. I think we can, and we want to be candidates for them. I don’t promise today we will win, but I can promise you that we will work hard, we will together and we will work with emotion, with demands to find all the results.

on how much he relishes going up against Guardiola and Mourinho…
I’m thinking about the present and the future. In terms of my past experience, that makes me feel stronger and it also allows me to have a guide in terms of my future trajectory. I’m very excited to be here, very excited to compete against some top coaches and very excited to play against some top teams. I have to say that right now, the Premier League is right at the top. Everyone wants to be in the best leagues. I speak with a lot of coaches, those are private conversations, but now that I am here, all information is welcome.

on how hard Wenger is to follow…
It’s a big challenge for me but I’ve also worked with other big projects. For me, I am proud to be here, to work after Arsène Wenger.

Press conference

'There was fantastic chemistry between us'

Unai Emery has hailed the "fantastic chemistry" he shared with Ivan Gazidis, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi in their initial meetings about the head coach role.

The Spaniard said the conversations they shared only served to convince him further that his moving to Arsenal was the right move for all parties.

This is what he told the media:

on how he sold himself to the board…
All the meetings with the people, with Ivan, Raul and Sven, the first meeting, the most important thing to me was the connection. We spoke at this moment about how they want to work and how we have a responsibility at this club together. To know my ambition, to know my passion, to know how I want to improve this team in the project at Arsenal. It’s a big responsibility but I think this feeling is very important. And for them, as a big club, it is important and for me, all the conversations were very good with the same idea, the same way, to improve in the present and the future.

on why he wanted to come to Arsenal…
I had fantastic meetings, in terms of who was at them. Firstly I met with Ivan, Raul and Sven. They analysed me as a person and as a coach, and they thought I could be an option for this team. I have to say that, after a three-hour meeting, there was fantastic chemistry between us. To be honest, that chemistry came simply from the fact that it was Arsenal because they have a wonderful history. I hoped that there could be a new future for the club. The second meeting was with the chairman and owners. They are the heart of the club and they transmitted what the fans wanted. I really felt positive energy in terms of what they felt about Arsenal. My third meeting was with the owner in Atlanta. Again there, we had a fantastic feeling in terms of the way we spoke to each other about the project. I think every step leading up to today has been very positive in terms of what I want after Spain and France, in terms of Arsenal, in terms of the challenge of coming to Arsenal. It’s something that makes me very proud and it’s a great opportunity for me to grow.

Press conference

‘I want people here who are demanding’

The message from Unai Emery was clear: he intends his Arsenal team to be “protagonists” who are “very, very intensive with pressing”.

Our new head coach was in impressive form at his introductory press conference, and opened up about how he wants his new side to play.
 
This is what he told the media:
 
on his style…
In my career, I [have been] very demanding [on] myself. I want people here who are demanding also, and players who are demanding also. My idea is to be protagonists. We play against all the teams with this personality. The history here is a team that love playing with possession of the ball. I like that personality, I like these protagonists with the ball. When you don’t have possession, I want a squad that are very, very intensive with the pressing. The two things are important for me to be protagonists: possession of the ball and pressing when you don’t have the ball.
 
on Ozil’s importance…
He’s one of the biggest talents at Arsenal and I want talented players here. I want to spend time with all of the players, I want to speak to them on a level about how inspired I am and how excited I am to be here. I want the players to feel that as well. Above all, I think this is a wonderful project and we all need to give 100 per cent. That’s what I’m looking for, from every player and myself.
 
on Jack Wilshere…
Today, I want to speak about the team collectively. I don’t want to speak about the players individually today. All the meetings with Ivan, Raul and Sven… this team is a big team, big players, good players and we think we need to change little things. A few players. Today, I want to work, I want to speak about the squad globally.
 
on his immediate priorities and targets…
Now it’s you! All the conversations and all the meetings with Ivan and the people who work here it was very important to give me all the information for the club. After, I want to know how we will [improve] this squad. I know all the players and I think all the players are very important. All the players, who I want, I will be with them this way, but I want to speak with all the players individually. I want to speak with them face to face.

Press conference

Emery's opening statement as our new head coach

Unai Emery took many people by surprise by addressing the media at Emirates Stadium in English, rather than his native tongue, for the vast majority of his opening press conference.

Read on for our new head coach's opening address as he discussed his appointment, Arsène Wenger and his ambitions.
 
"Good afternoon everybody - I am honoured to be here with you. Also thank you to the Kroenke family. We travelled to Atlanta for a meeting with the Kroenke family and for me it was a very good meeting, a very good conversation with him and with his son.
 
"Thank you also to the chairman and the board. We had a meeting on Monday morning with them and also I feel that they feel Arsenal with their heart. The conversations with the chairman and the board were very important for me. There’s no better club than Arsenal.
 
"Also thank you Ivan, thank you Raul and thank you Sven. The first meetings with Arsenal people were with these three people who, after three hours, I had a very good feeling about working together and that we could create a new present and future Arsenal.
 
"Thank you, Arsène Wenger, for your legacy. For all the coaches over the world, he’s a reference and I learned from him all the things in football.
 
"My English is not very good now and I want to make an effort to speak with you, to the supporters, to explain my ideas, to explain my ambitions, to explain that I am very excited about this opportunity. It’s a big club, a great city, a grand stadium and also has great players for this work. Thank you."

Press conference

Gazidis on Emery and the recruitment process

Ivan Gazidis sat beside Unai Emery at his introductory press conference and was fulsome in his praise for our new head coach.

Our chief executive discussed the recruitment process in detail and reflected on why we have appointed the Spaniard.

This was his opening address to the media on Wednesday afternoon:
 
"Welcome everybody. Today I’m really delighted and excited to announce the new head coach of Arsenal Football Club as Unai Emery. I know that came as a bit of a surprise and perhaps there were a few rewrites necessary! But as I said at the beginning of the process, those who know, won’t speak and those who speak, won’t know.
 
"I’d like to give a little bit of background on the process that led us to this point today. After the announcement of Arsene moving on, we formed a three-person committee, led by me and supported by Sven Mislintat, our head of recruitment, and Raul Sanlehi, our head of football operations.
 
"We had some clear criteria that we were looking for in our selection, the first was progressive, entertaining football, a personality that fits with Arsenal's values and also a record of developing players, in particular young players through detailed, tactical instruction and also through cultural demands, pushing players and demanding more from them.
 
"Obviously all football clubs have an ongoing review process, but we looked through and analysed on the basis that every coach in the world would be interested in this position. We don't believe there is a position in world football that is more attractive than Arsenal Football Club and having gone through that process and series of references, and a good deal of analysis, we created a long-list, an eight-person list.
 
"All of those eight people that we approached, that we targeted, were interested in the position and all of those eight people took part in extensive, in-persons interviews with us and none of them, at any stage, withdrew their interest - they were interested right until the moment we informed them of our decision.
 
"We were in a fortunate position in this process to make our first choice and that is what we did. Our first interview was conducted on April 25 and our last interview was conducted on May 15, and we interviewed Unai on May 10 as part of that process. We made our recommendation to the board on May 18, and that was a unanimous recommendation by the three of us, and the formal recommendation to the board was supported by a 100-page dossier with references, analysis, videos showing their coaching in action and a great degree of background information.

"We then met with the London members of our board on Monday of this week. Unai and I, and Raul, flew to Atlanta on Monday evening. We met in Atlanta with Stan and Josh Kroenke, we flew back on the red-eye last night, so we are the little bit worse for wear, but all of the board members were energised and enthusiastic about the recommendation and enthusiastically endorsed the recommendation.
 
"So why Unai Emery? I have followed Unai's career very closely since his days at Valencia and he has always been on my radar screen. He has a fantastic record of success wherever he has gone and interestingly one of the noteworthy things about Unai's teams in that they improve over time.
 
"We also felt, and I felt for some time, that he is a superb fit with the criteria that I laid out. But I think it is very important to move this beyond a paper exercise and that is why, having taken third-person references from some of the most respected people in the game and people that we trust, it was very important to move to personal meetings and it was in the personal meeting that Unai was incredibly impressive.
 
"He came in extraordinarily well-prepared, with a detailed knowledge of Arsenal Football Club. He had an analysis to share with us, not just of his ways of working and of his ways of coaching, and the team of people he works with, but he had an analysis of all of our individual players, their qualities and how he feels he can help them develop individually and collectively - in detail. Also an in-depth knowledge of our off-the-field team, and how they can contribute and how Unai's team would mesh with them productively.
 
"But this was not a purely technical exercise, I think the thing that distinguishes Unai above all of that, above all the process and above all the things you can read about him, was the chemistry between us and the feeling for football in the room.
 
"Unai has an energy, a passion, a competitive energy and it is this combination of detail, of hard work, passion and a love for football and a will to win that made us feel that this fit was exactly right for Arsenal and exactly right for the people we have working at the club. It is for all of those reasons and following all of that extensive process that I am proud and delighted to introduce you today to Unai Emery."