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Arsenal head coach Unai Emery on Manchester City, injury news, captaincy, optimism, the prospect of winning the Premier League – and much more

PUBLISHED: 14:25 10 August 2018

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has been speaking at London Colney. PA

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has been speaking at London Colney. PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal head coach has been speaking ahead of his first competitive match in charge of the club against Manchester City on Sunday. Gunners reporter Layth Yousif has been at London Colney, read on for more.

On beginning his first season in England...

Good afternoon. We are excited. We have a lot of ambition to start [well] on Sunday against the last winners of the Premier League. Also, I think that it’s a big and great match that we can play to start this season.

On what he wants to see from his team on Sunday...

We are working to improve each match and each training session. But Sunday, we need to show on the pitch our performance at a big level. The position is demanding our best moments tactically and also individually. It’s for that, that on Sunday I want first to be together with our supporters. It helps, if we’re together, for the players to show their best performance and to transmit with every supporter the quality, the energy and the spirit to go forward against Manchester City.

On injury news...

We have Koscielny out with a long injury and then also Kolasinac has a long injury. Today, Nacho Monreal began to train with the team. As well, Danny Welbeck has come in this week but on Sunday it will be early to start playing him. The other players are OK and we are working on the possibility to work with another player, who has experience in this [left-back] position. We want to give him confidence and the possibility to play. I’m not sure because I am going to decide tomorrow or on Sunday on the first 11, but Ainsley is the player who started the last match against Lazio.

On what will be different about his Arsenal team...

We want to start well, we want to play and we want to show our quality, our work in this month tactically and with our spirit. I want to show and to be together with the supporters and to start a new way, a new process, with the same players and also our new players with us, and with a new coach and new staff.

On what is the best way to try and play against Manchester City...

It’s more easy to speak here than to do it on the pitch. City, I think, after two years of working with Guardiola they have more stability, more security and when you watch City’s matches, they are playing with a very, very great confidence in themselves. Also, I think that Guardiola’s coaching is clear in this team. For that, we are working this week and preparing for this game and preparing for the opposition, against City, as a collective and as individual players. Above all, it’s about confidence in ourselves to play the best match on Sunday. We are to think only to win the match.

On the prospect of winning the league...

My first message is clear. Think about each match. Enjoy the challenges of each match. I am looking every day and the players are smiling in training with a big collective spirit. They are working and finishing tired but with a smile also on their face. For me, that is the best message I can give the supporters. It’s for that, my message for Sunday is optimism.

On Aaron Ramsey’s future...

That’s not my work. For me it’s very important he stays with us. His experience here in Arsenal and the Premier League is very important and will give us all the information and performances in his quality. Then, the contract is for speaking with the club and the players.

On KSE’s update earlier this week...

I met the Kroenke family in Atlanta and he gave us his commitment in this project with Arsenal. For me, it’s positive and his commitment is for me, to Arsenal, the most important.

On what his relationship is like with Pep...

I am 46 and he is 47. His career as a player is bigger than mine and his career as a coach is also bigger than mine. But we started at the same moment, our career as coaches. His coaches, with statistics and data, is better than me also. But I like to play more against him because it’s demanding for your preparation, to try to win against his teams. When we were in Spain, for me, each match against Barcelona with Almeria and then with Valencia for four years, was very exciting and demanding. It’s for that reason that Sunday is the same for me here. A new experience, but with one work with a lot of ambition for me. I want to show and to give our players also this ambition.

On whether any more players will leave during August...

Yesterday the window closed here in the Premier League. Today, we had a meeting with the players to close all the possibilities to leave or come with more players. We only have three players: Carl Jenkinson, David Ospina and Joel Campbell, with the possibility to leave. But the other players are with us and we are going to work in the Emirates the day before the match with all the players. Only two young players are going today, to play tomorrow with the under-23s against Manchester City away. They are Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah. The others, they are with us and tomorrow we decide the group for going to the hotel and also the first 11 and the first 18 players.

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