Press conference

Press conference: Emery on Ozil and Ramsey

Unai Emery has held his final press conference of the year at the training ground.
 

Our head coach took a training session early in the afternoon and then walked over to the media building to face questions ahead of Saturday’s trip to Liverpool.
 
Also on the agenda? Mesut Ozil’s role in the side, Aaron Ramsey’s future and whether Liverpool can emulate the Invincibles.
 
Here’s what Unai said:
 
on his team for the Liverpool game…
Good afternoon. We are playing a lot of matches in [the space of] a few days, and we need each day to test how the players are. Today, only we trained with the players who didn’t play yesterday. Mustafi may also be close to training with us, but today he worked alone but with good feeling. Tomorrow is the last training before we travel to Liverpool and we need to know who can play in training.

on what makes Liverpool effective…
It is a very big match for us, and for them. They are unbeaten this season, with a very big confidence and big performance from their players. I look at their progress over the last year and they are maybe in the best moment now. But for us it is a big challenge and a good test to know who we are, the difference between them and us in the table is clear and also I want to look at the pitch. We have one test against them at the Emirates, we drew but it was a good match. In Liverpool is going to be a different match to what we played here.

on what he wants to see at Liverpool that he saw in the game at Emirates…
First, they are usually feeling very high in their stadium with their supporters. Also the atmosphere is one point more for the. But we have players who have the habit of playing in big matches, also in Liverpool, and we know it is difficult for us but for me it is a very big test, I have a big motivation and I am looking forward to our response against them. Also, after finishing the first half of the season, we are in a good position with the points, 38, not very good but it is [quite] good and with the difference to the other teams, they are doing this difference and we need to do our process in the second half of the season to improve and to take a big performance little by little to shorten the difference between them and us.

on if the FA are looking at the bottle incident at Brighton…
I said yesterday my apologies, I kicked the bottle in frustration but not for the supporter, I kicked for me and it went near to the supporter and I said to them my apologies. There is not another communication. I repeat today my apologies for my individual action but I kick the bottle because it is near me, but not because it is my intention.

on Mourinho getting a one-match ban previously and whether it could happen to him…
I hope not but I have to respect the decision because it is a circumstance of my action, but not another intention from me with the supporter. I say to them my apology.

on whether the apology should be the end of the matter…
I hope so, yes.

on Ozil coming off at half-time at Brighton…
It is one decision tactically, and also the decision is because we have [done] it before because we have a lot of matches away when it tactically changes something, not for the player but for the team. A lot of the matches when we play in the second half, for example Iwobi, it helps us with a different situation tactically and helps us to win the matches. In other matches, when we changed for the second half we took the performance to go to win. Yesterday, my intention was the same, it is tactically to change one player for another and with our analysis before that in other matches, in the second-half sessions is the reason I do that. But for me, it is only tactically and not [down to the] player, and for me every player is the same. Sometimes I change Aubameyang, sometimes I change Lacazette and sometimes I change Matteo - it happens to every player and sometimes the result is good and the other times it doesn’t give us the result on the pitch. But the decision is only tactical.

on whether Liverpool away is a game he thinks Mesut Ozil can influence...
But for me, we cannot only speak for one player. For me, every player is the same. We can speak also, maybe one player now who didn't play a lot... Jenkinson. Or Lichtsteiner or Mustafi or Kolasinac or Matteo or Mesut or Aubameyang or Lacazette or Nketiah. Every player.
 
on the Brighton goal and whether he is concerned at conceding on the break recently...
We need more, but we need more from everybody and we need more also in our demanding ideas, and we need to continue working on things. But it's not for receiving the goal in the transition, because also, when we receive one goal we are having mistakes. The mistakes are not only one player, or two players or three players, but maybe also in the ideas. But at the moment, in the first half of the season, we are happy with 38 points. We need more. But it's not bad, these points on the table. We need to improve defensively, because we are scoring a lot of goals and before yesterday we were second in the table for scoring. But we need to get better in the defensive moments and concede less goals and less chances for the opposition. Also, in the last matches we are having a lot of injuries in the defensive positions. We need to change some players and play in different positions, like they are usually playing, like with Xhaka and Lichtsteiner. But we need that. First, the behaviour and the commitment of the players is good to help us in different positions, but we need also to take more balance in these situations above all, in defensive moments. It is one thing: collective. It's not just for the defence or for the attacking player, it is for all. With this balance, I am happy but also knowing that it isn't enough at the moment for us.
 
on whether he thinks Liverpool could go the whole season unbeaten...
At the moment, they are doing it and they can do. They can do that because they are doing it at the moment. We played against Liverpool three years ago with Sevilla in the final of the Europa League and I look then, at this progress, in this process and they are a very good example. I am also looking, with the coaches also, at how we are now and with the difference in the table before those years and with us and with other teams. The progression with Liverpool is clear. Three years ago, they were out of the Champions League through the Premier League and through the Europa League, because they lost against us [at Sevilla]. This progress is also one example for us, now, in our moment. But we need to be very, very demanding of ourselves to do this step quickly in our way. But we need also time, and sometimes the patience is very important for us.
 
on reports of Juventus and PSG wanting to sign Aaron Ramsey - and whether he will be happy if Aaron's future is decided sooner rather than later...

For me, the most important thing for every player is for their focus to be here. They have their individual situations or circumstances in their contract in their present and in their future, but my present, my future is here in Arsenal. They show me the focus for us and I think it's not easy for Aaron, but I spoke with him and we need his performances for us. He played yesterday with a good spirit, like I want and he helped us, not to win but he was working well. I am happy. I need this focus also from him, to us, to help us to go to Liverpool on Saturday and then to Fulham. His future is only for him and for his agent. Above all, I want and he should have, his focus for helping us.

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