Quotes

So what has caused Emery's 'small smile'?

Unai Emery

It has been tiring couple of days for Unai Emery and his players - but our head coach has approached it all with a "small smile".

The Spaniard is delighted with how his squad are dealing with the challenges in front of them after claiming two successive away wins, and this is what he told the media:

on what he thinks of Crystal Palace ahead of Sunday's game...
They were playing with a big performance last year, but this season they started with more doubt in their performances. But they have very big players, a very experienced coach and they are taking good results away from home. They won against Manchester City, so on Sunday we have a lot of respect to them, to their players and to their coach. We want to impose - in our stadium - our spirit and personality and our ideas, our gameplan and the first idea against them, to beat them, is respect.

on whether we will be tired compared to Crystal Palace...
I didn't use this excuse in my career. I worked a lot in similar situations in France and Spain. Here, we came back last night at three o'clock and we came in this morning at 10am. But really, today I am coming here with a small smile because the players worked very well and gave me confidence for Sunday. The players who didn't play yesterday, today after this travel, they were working good and with the focus for Sunday and knowing that today in training, some players are going to play Sunday. After the last match, some players need to rest or to do a rotation with them, or with one player like Aaron Ramsey, he is injured. Also, Sokratis continues to be suspended. But this is the spirit I want. Like this morning, after the travelling yesterday. How we trained this morning and how we can have confidence to use players against Crystal Palace.

on whether he thinks still being in European competition is an advantage or a disadvantage...
My experience says that it can be like that. But maybe not. For example, my mentality with the players is to say to them that we are only going to think of the next match. If we win the next match, we are going to have it in our hands, the possibility to be in the top four. If we don't win, it can change a lot because then we are going to depend on other teams. It's the first reason that our focus is very clear and not confused, not using excuses after yesterday's match because we can use different players who are physically 100 per cent for Sunday. We can play with some players who played yesterday, but who can also rest and recover and can be 100 per cent for Sunday. After that, we can win, we can draw, we can lose. But we are ready to play.