Interview

‘We’ve adapted to how Emery wants to play’

Mustafi in action against Atletico Madrid

Shkodran Mustafi has only been working with Unai Emery since the start of the month, but he has adapted to our new head coach’s philosophy seamlessly.

The World Cup winner played the first hour of Thursday’s International Champions Cup game against Atletico Madrid and, while we would eventually lose on penalties, was pleased with how well we’ve settled into Emery’s system.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take for other people to get used to the head coach, but for us players, it’s already done,” he said. “From the first day, he told us what his philosophy is, what he wants to play, and I think for us players it is important to get that as quickly as possible. 

“The pre-season is not four or five months, it’s only a few weeks before you start the Premier League. I think we’ve adapted really quickly and I like the philosophy that the coach is bringing in.”

Mustafi started alongside Rob Holding before being withdrawn as we switched to a back three, and after the match he reiterated just how important it will be to be comfortable in multiple formations this season.

“Last year we played with three and four [at the back],” he said. “In football today, it’s important to be flexible and I think it’s good if a team can change, so that’s what we’ve been working on.

“We’ve been working more on the back four. Today we tried the last half an hour with a back three but it’s nothing new for us because as you mentioned, we’ve been playing that [way] last season. It’s something we need to work on because it makes you stronger and it gives you more possibilities to change during the game.”

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