Arsenal boss Unai Emery: Shkodran Mustafi has been consistent this season
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Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking after his side’s disappointing 3-2 home defeat by Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, Read on for what he said.
On if he is frustrated…
Good evening. Yes, it’s a big frustration because it was a big opportunity. But we can say we had a big opportunity in the matches before today and we took a lot of points, a lot of key moments to give us the opportunity to be, now, in our way with the possibility to achieve our first target, which is to play Champions League next year. We can do that through the Premier League or the Europa League. Today, we lost a very big opportunity but I don’t think it changes our idea. We need to prepare for the next match against Wolverhampton. It’s in our hands because we can continue with the possibility of being in the top four if we win.
On the defensive display today…
First it’s because they have very good players. Second it’s because today in the set pieces, we didn’t work and we weren’t strong like we were in the rest of the season. The first goal came from a free-kick, the third from a corner. Today we struggled more than we wanted in these two situations and really the result can come, this result, through it.
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On Shkodran Mustafi’s performance…
We can speak about players individually, but sometimes they can play very well, sometimes cannot play well. But I prefer to speak about the consistency in the season. I think we are, every player, helping and every player is playing with a big performance and today also, when you can defend against a player like Benteke or Zaha, you can suffer more than maybe in other situations. But if today we were better in the set pieces, maybe we could have won this match and also, we controlled the possession but in the attacking third they defended their goal and their box very well and we didn’t find the best situation to score and to take more chances to score.
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On if he thinks Mustafi has been consistent this season…
In all the season I think he is being consistent. We speak about every match.
On his team selection...
In the first half we continued with the three central defenders because I think we can be more consistent with that. In the second half we changed to play with two and we can take more possibilities in the attacking third, in the build up, but defensively we gave them more space to take the transitions. Their goals are from set pieces and one second action, but also we know that we can be taking more risks in the second half. But when the score is like that in the first half and we are losing 1-0, I think we need to do that. We changed because we are going to play a lot of matches. We have had some injuries, like with Aaron Ramsey, and we need to protect the players. For example, Xhaka asked to change in the second half against Napoli and today could’ve played, but with some risk. We need to protect our players and to us other players. We are playing with a lot of players and they give us the performance, we lost today but we could also have lost with other players on the pitch.
On our penalty appeal for handball...
I don’t know. I don’t know really. I didn’t see it.
On if VAR could help...
I spoke about that. I think VAR is coming to help the referees and I think it’s going to be better. But today it’s not and I don’t know if it’s a penalty or not.
On a rare home defeat…
Yes, but we know we are feeling very strong here. It’s very difficult to win and to repeat to win and again to win and again to win. One day like today can happen. First because they have very good players and an experienced coach and away they won at Manchester City, they won at Newcastle, they won at Leicester. We knew it was going to be difficult and we respect them a lot. But on the pitch we could not impose our gameplay today.
On if this is the worst defensive performance of his tenure...
We were improving and we were getting better defensively and today against two strong players, they gave us a lot of work - Benteke and Zaha - more than in other matches. I have the confidence in our way and I want to be positive today because this season we have been working and fighting to be in this key moment with the possibility to be in the top four, and we are. We are also in the semi-final of the Europa League and we can be proud of all the season. Today we can be frustrated, but tomorrow stand up and be ready for the game on Wednesday against Wolves knowing it is going to be very difficult but it is in our hands.
Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29