Arsenal manager Unai Emery has made it clear to Sky Sports that his team is in transition, and he requires time to build the team as he says results are not what people should always be on the lookout for.
He was quoted as saying this amidst Arsenals’ recent poor displays, especially in defence, a department which has seen them concede an overall of 32 goals in the Premier League.
He started by saying: “When a club changes manager, it is because they want something new,” he says. “The challenge is to identify the good things – the things you have to maintain – but also the things that you have to change and improve. Here, obviously, there were lots of things to change and improve.”
“The adaptation of the club and team is progressing in a positive way. In terms of getting into the Champions League and finishing in the top four, which is our main objective, it is true that we are not there right now. The competitive level is very high.”
However, Emery made it clear that a top 4 finish is must for his team, despite the team’s shaky displays.
He said: “But firstly, I believe we have time to achieve that this season. And secondly, we knew there were going to be difficulties in this process. The most important thing is to be aware that the difficulties will come, and at that moment still be able to make progress. That is the idea. The idea is to get Arsenal back to where the club deserves to be, but it needs time.”
Wenger started his career well, but finished poorly, and it remains to be seen if the new boss will transform the team.
He also made an explanation as to how he thinks shaping up Arsenal will be like in the long run.
“After my experiences in Spain, in Russia and in France, I believe that here, people see football in a very distinct way,” says Emery. “As well as the teams being more competitive and tougher, I believe the fans feel football from the heart. The question of whether you win, lose or draw is very important, but there is always a respect towards football beyond just the result.
“That means you can do a more progressive job, a job based on building from the bottom without only thinking about results, because sometimes, a result can hide solid foundations.
“As a manager, I have always put myself under the pressure of the necessity to win. You know that winning will allow you to either continue what you’re doing or to find another project. And you know that if you lose, they will take the project you already have away from you.
“But at Arsenal, it’s maybe the first time I feel that I have the support to build up from the bottom in order to get where we want to be. It allows us to work more for the long-term – or at least, ‘long-term’ in football terms. It supports the kind of work we want to do at this club.”
“There are things we have managed to improve but there are other things that need more time, and defensive consistency is one of them,” says Emery. “We still have a lot of work to do there.”
“I think it’s a bit of everything,” says Emery. “When I arrived, we spoke about the Arsenal before Wenger, which was consistent in defence but didn’t have much brilliance in attack. In the transition under Wenger, it was about making the most of that defensive work and adding more quality in attack, which was when Arsenal were a winning team.
“But in the last few years it became different. It was a team which always had a great attack, with players who were very good technically, but with a very, very low level of defensive solidity.
“Now, we are in a transition where we are looking for a balance.
“I don’t want to lose all the good things about this team. There are times when defensively we have not been very solid, but we have still won because offensively we have created a lot of chances. So, at the moment, I am still leaning towards making sure the team doesn’t lose what it has. But yes, it’s true that we have to achieve greater defensive solidity.”
Arsenal are fifth in the standings, and are now level on points with sixth placed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United who are enjoying life after Jose Mourinho’s sacking where they have won five straight Premier League games. The teams are only separated by goal difference.