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Transcript: Emery on Bournemouth, defence and VAR

Emery

Unai Emery will be looking to continue the good vibe around Emirates Stadium from Thursday night when Bournemouth arrive on Sunday afternoon.

The Cherries come into the game just one point behind us, having collected 11 points from the opening seven games of the season.

Ahead of the return of Premier League action, Emery sat down in front of the cameras - and this is what he said:

on any injuries from Thursday…
Good afternoon, it's a very short time to know how we are going to be with the players on Sunday. Tomorrow's training is going to be very important because some players who played yesterday will be tired. But above all, at the beginning it's only Lacazette who is continuing away from the team. I am waiting on the other players to be ready.
 
on Bellerin, Tierney and Holding…
They are three different circumstances with the injuries and with the timings. But really now they are very close for us, the closest is maybe Rob Holding. He has played two matches with us and also for the under-23s. And Kieran Tierney is the same. I think Hector Bellerin needs more time to be 100 per cent, but I think all the minutes he played yesterday were very good to achieve a rhythm and above all confidence to play when we need him in future.
 
on starting slowly…
Really it's very difficult to play for 90 minutes with the same rhythm, with the same control and with the same possession that we want. And also to achieve a very good position on the pitch to perform the best pressing against the opposition. But yesterday I think we did that for a lot of minutes. We started with a very, very strong pace, with and without the ball, and we scored three goals in the first 20 minutes. But really we were consistent over the 90 minutes. We only scored one goal in the second half, but in the last 15 minutes we had a lot of chances to score and we pushed a lot. That spirit is good and also because we were players who didn't play on Monday, so they were fresh, But above all I want to prepare each player to be ready for every match. If we are going to play three matches in a week, I want him in his mind to be ready for all three matches. All through the season, with a lot of important matches, it was important yesterday to add players to our spirit and our confidence with them. 
 
on our defensive troubles… 
In the beginning of the season we were worried about that, but I think we are progressively getting better and in the last few matches we had some important clean sheets. In the last match against Manchester United we conceded only one goal, and I think we are improving. I want us to be a competitive team defensively and offensively, but above all, the first characteristic for us is to be offensive, to have the ball and control the matches. But it’s about balance and we also need to be strong defensively. Defensively we want to keep more of the ball and be further away from our goal and pushing them. We can achieve something progressively better, as we’ve been showing in the last matches.
 
on whether he regrets not signing another defender…
We signed David Luiz, an experienced player in the Premier League, and we have also an experienced player in Sokratis. Calum Chambers came back to us after his season with Fulham, and we also had Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin to come back from their injuries. We also signed Kieran Tierney. We did all we can and I’m very happy with them. We now have more possibilities and I think as a team we are more competitive with more players and more options. We are going to play a lot of matches and defensively now we have the players we wanted in the summer.
 
on the negative reaction to Xhaka being named captain outside of the club…
I spoke about that. The vote gives me this information and the teammates decided that vote gives him confidence. Now the big thing is that we are going to work individually and collectively to be strong, and to show our supporters our way and how we can be strong with every player and our captains. I have big confidence and trust in every player, the captain and not the captain, because I think now in the dressing room we have a very big spirit.
 
on whether we have a better chance to finish in the top four this season…
Our challenge in the season is to play for the opportunity to win titles. The mentality is to go to the Champions League next year, but we spoke about that one day in the dressing room and now we are working and improving our things to be stronger for the next matches. I think we are improving that, but we need more. Last year we finished outside the top four, but we were closer to them. This year we want to achieve one step more ahead.
 
on being here 16 months and if the squad is where he expected it to be now...
We're this year also changing some or more players than the last years made here. We need some adaptation with those players and to do that squad with a strong mentality and also with the combinations with those players to achieve that confidence to progress with them. But really, I am happy above all in the last matches, with those news players and with the ideas and the style we can take and we can get to be stronger in our matches. That is our work and every day for me is one challenge to analyse our team after each match, look at how we can improve for every game, for Sunday against Bournemouth with that difficulty and really, to be consistent and progressively getting better for each match.
 
on saying that other people deserve to be in the team before Mesut does - and if Mesut accepts it and will fight for his place...
We are a squad of 26 players. 23 outfield players and three goalkeepers - we are 26. I think we are getting better at being a competitive team with different solutions, different options in the squad in each position and really, every player is working well. Sometimes I decide on one player or another player but always thinking on how we can be better in each match.
 
on if we have to beat teams like Bournemouth in order to improve on last season...
Bournemouth is not now a surprise. They are working very well, last year they played very well and I have a lot of respect for them because they deserve it. Really, for Sunday, we are now with 12 points and they are with 11 points, only one point difference and this is important. It's a key moment against a team that are at the moment closer to us and fighting for the same position, to see how we can impose ourselves, how we can respond and how we can show our stronger moments against them. But we are with a big respect for them because they are working well, they are a very offensive team, they have good individuals and I think their coach also is improving, he has experience and he is a very good coach.
 
on VAR on Monday night working well and showing its benefits to us...
VAR is very important and it's positive for us, for the referees and for football. I think here we are starting this season to use it and it needs some time for adaptation between the VAR and us, but I think it is going to be clearly positive for us.