Press conference

Why didn’t our new signings start at Newcastle?


Unai Emery chose not to start any of our new signings in our opening Premier League game of the season - so what was his selection process?

Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli came off the bench as we beat Newcastle United at St James’ Park, but why did our head coach not put them in the starting XI?

“I explained that the circumstances are different,” Emery said. “David Luiz did pre-season with another team and he is okay to play physically but he only trained completely with us yesterday. On Friday he did 30 minutes with us. I was thinking to give them confidence to work together because they were working well together, Sokratis and Chambers.

“Nicolas Pepe came one week ago and physically he needs to get his best fitness to be ready to play 100 per cent for 90 minutes. I think that today 20 minutes is good for him.

“Ceballos is in the middle because he came before Pepe but he got an injury and he stopped training. But he needs to know the Premier League, so today was important for him and for us.

“I also used Reiss Nelson and Willock because they deserved to be with us and to give them confidence can help us. It's the same with Martinelli, he played the last 10 minutes because he deserved it.”

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