Unai Emery Gives In-Depth Interview On How 'Everything Got Broken' At Arsenal
Unai Emery has given an in-depth interview detailing what went wrong at Arsenal.
The former PSG and Sevilla coach was given the boot in November and replaced by former Gunners midfielder Mikel Arteta, who had been working as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City.
His final game was a 2-1 home defeat to German side Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League but Emery himself acknowledges that the end was near before that.
"The game against Sheffield United was a bit of a turning point," he told Guillem Balague in a Spanish interview for the journalist's YouTube channel, via the Daily Mail.
"In one month everything got broken and we were incapable of winning a game in seven. The tension - which was based on the question we were asking of 'what's happening to us?' - was like a rolling ball that was just getting bigger and bigger.
"The coach is the first person to come into the spotlight, I have lived this at other clubs but I have managed to conquer it by getting the team back on track.
"But the truth is that month at Arsenal was terrible."
Emery tried to "tactically synergise" Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil in his attack but ended up dropping the German, who wasn't blessed with the work-rate and energy demanded.
He was caught in a knife-wielding armed robbery alongside teammate Sead Kolasinac and that also led to a period out of the side.
"Ozil is very important for the team. There are games in which you see Mesut's brilliance, linking with the attack," Emery said.
"But I also had to find players around him in which he felt comfortable. Also the team needed to feel solid. And when you, bit by bit, build a team that is aggressive, intense, as well as structured for good pressure, we also have to find a space for Mesut.
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"You try to find a team that is competitive, and I found it last season, but sometimes, for one reason or another, Mesut being out for a month with the problems he had with the recent attempted robbery he was less available.
"He has talent that allows other players to be better, but when you want more aggressive pressure, he does not have the best qualities for that."
Granit Xhaka was Emery's captain following the departure of Laurent Koscielny but the Swiss international was stripped of the captaincy for telling the fans to 'F**k Off' when he was booed off as he left the pitch in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
While he felt he had no choice but to relieve him of his duties as skipper after that incident, Emery still feels as though Xhaka is the leader Arsenal need.
He added: "So the natural leader in the dressing room, because of his values and what he represented, was Granit Xhaka.
"There was a vote to see if what I felt about him was also felt by the players. And they did. Circumstances meant that Xhaka had a clash with the fans but he is the leader that this team needs, then and now."
Emery was also asked about being mocked by fans and players alike for his grasp of English and in particular, the way in which he pronounced "Good Evening".
He made an effort to try and learn the new language but accepts he still needs to improve his English.
"I had a ground base of English simply because I hadn't had the opportunity to develop my English more and I had two years in France where I concentrated so much more on French," Emery explained.
"So when I arrived in England, the first thing I said to myself is 'I have to speak English'.
"And the club not only helped me but also encouraged me to speak English even with all the difficulties, which is why I made that effort.
"I wanted to lift my level of communication in English to a higher level. When the results are not good you have to answer more questions in English... But I understand that when you have poor results, it can be a problem for you not being able to explain or get your message across. I will continue to try to break down barriers and improve it [my English]."
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