Press conference

Press conference: read the full transcript


Unai Emery was a satisfied man on Sunday after guiding us into third place in the Premier League ahead of the international break.

Our head coach was asked about David Luiz's first goal for us, Matteo Guendouzi's game-saving challenge and the selection dilemma he faces when all his defenders are fit.

Read on for a transcript from Unai's press conference:

on the game…
The first four matches we’ve played here, we beat Burnley, with Tottenham we drew 2-2 after being 2-0 down, with Aston Villa we won 3-2 with one less player, and today we wanted to take one step ahead, controlling the match better, knowing it was going to be difficult. In the first half, we controlled it with very good organisation, defensively very strong, we didn’t concede chances to them. We scored one goal and had possibilities to score the second goal. We were speaking about wanting to improve and we could improve. The second half was a very good opportunity to keep our confidence, getting better with the ball, the combinations, the control, and also stopping their actions with the ball. We did that in the first half but, In the second half, maybe because the first chances arrived very early, we lost a bit of that confidence. We have a lot of young players and we need also to take experience, take minutes and to know that difficulty inside the pitch. It’s like that against every team in the Premier League because I think It’s the most important and most difficult domestic competition. We are very happy with that result and proud of our work in the first half, and we are very critical of ourselves and myself to improve the second-half [performance].

on if being third in the table is a fair reflection…
That was our objective today. We knew if we won, we’d go third. For our confidence and our way, it was important, but not feeling the pressure of that. Maybe in the second half, we were winning 1-0, maybe in some moments we felt that pressure. But for me it’s one step more, above all for the young players and for us. It’s our objective and we didn’t fear that moment, when the opposition was pushing us. Really, I think the second half, we can analyse, we can improve, and we will do - but in 90 minutes I think we deserved to win.

on if the players were too relaxed in the second half…
When we were with the ball, first it’s about being calm, with good positioning on the pitch to keep the ball. When they were pressing in the second half, be careful to break break the press with one long ball, take the second ball and then keep the ball to control the match, trying to score the second goal. When we weren’t with the ball, we needed to be strong and organised, because they were pushing and attacking very quickly against us. They were getting into the box, so at that moment, we had to concentrate and focus to stop them like in the first half. With the ball, I think we are going to improve, being more calm with the possibility to impose ourselves [as we did in the first half].

on if Arsenal could have been punished…
At the moment we have a good balance in the table and we are going to think about each match. Bournemouth are a very good team, they have 11 points and won against Aston Villa and Southampton. They have good, international players - very big quality. We will play teams with more quality, some yes, some [with] less quality, but we are also playing with young players, giving them chances, minutes, experiences. I think every match for them is important.

on David Luiz scoring his first Arsenal goal…
The most important thing is to have a lot of corners offensively. In this match, we had a lot of corners in the first half, but in the second half we had less. When we are taking that corner, we can score. We did that today and It’s important for us to have confidence with different players scoring.

on David Luiz being popular in the dressing room…
Yes, because he’s very positive. Every time he’s speaking about positive things and helping young players. He came late into the squad but really, his commitment is very high with us, and his behaviour is too. Everybody is happy with that.

on if he’d like his team to win 1-0, just like Arsenal used to do in the 90s…
I know that! But our objective is to win, but also how we want to win is very important.

on if the defenders should be praised today…
Yes. I remember the last match we played, every match we played here in the Premier League. We played two matches in the Europa League and the Cup and won 4-0 and 5-0. Also, we can remember and improve that speed. The level in the Premier League is more than the cup with Nottingham Forest or Standard Liege, but also, we want to play with style, creating chances, being competitive and being consistent in the 90 minutes. We want to use that way. Our objective was first to win, and after to take that way. In the first half, we did that. In the second half, they were pushing in some moments with their game plan and we struggled. We were defensively solid and strong. In the first half, it was a good example of the way [we want to play]. I am very critical of myself and ourselves but also I think we can be positive. We are now third in the table, we have many young players, they are getting better, and we have many positive things. Sometimes we forget Matteo - he is a very young player and he is progressing, but he is 19 or 20 years old. With Lucas Torreira also.

on Guendouzi’s late block…
For example, in the second half, I wanted more control with the ball but to connect with Matteo and Ceballos. We needed the centre back and Xhaka to break the first line and connect with them. Maybe we used the long ball more than I wanted, rather than using our quality and capacity to control the match and help us. But Matteo is improving a lot and I think after last year, tactically he’s improving a lot in defensive moments, and also with the ball. We need him.

on how he’ll get Bellerin, Tierney and Holding into the defence…
It’s one process with them. Kieran and Rob are closer to playing. I think Rob Holding can play 90 minutes with a good performance. Now we are also working with David Luiz and Sokratis, but really, I am very happy. He is going to have a chance to play a lot of matches. Kieran Tierney is closer to us, he played on Thursday and today he was on the bench if we needed him. Hector Bellerin needs a little more time, more matches and more training. This international break is going to be important for him. I think he will be closer to starting for us in the next matches in the Premier League.

on how he will spend the international break…
I am going to rest also. Usually I go to Spain for some days. We are going to work and my mind now is on Sheffield!

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