EUROPA LEAGUE: Arsenal boss Unai Emery Q&A as Napoli loom at the Emirates
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Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking ahead of the Gunners hosting Serie A side Napoli in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals. Read on for what he said about the competition and much more.
Do Arsenal need a convincing home win against Napoli to go through because your away form is so bad?
This is a long competition, we started in the groups. After the last matches we played the first leg away and we needed to come back after at home because the result was not good.
We are going to play at home, but this club, these players, me as a coach, have experienced different moments, different results, playing the first leg away or at home like tomorrow.
The idea is to be competitive in two matches. Tomorrow we are going to play knowing we need to win, but we have confidence that we can win tomorrow but also that when we can go away and, depending on the result, if we need more we can do it.
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But we are going to think with these two matches, first about tomorrow. And tomorrow there is respect because Napoli won away three weeks ago 4-1 at Roma, they played very good matches away against PSG and against Liverpool in the Champions League and tomorrow will give us a lot of demands to be the best possible on the pitch.
We will have a lot of duels, a lot of individual ones with players. Tactically they are a very organised team, they have the possibility to play with the combinations, with the transition very quickly. They have very fast players. We need a complete match tomorrow.
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Do Arsenal need more goals from midfield?
Usually in my career as a coach all my strikers score a lot and here they are doing the same.
But we are demanding that every player has the possibility to score also and I think they are doing that.
They have less possibility to score but they are getting in the box, like Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Mesut - Koscielny also from set pieces.
I think they are helping us with goals.
The most important for us is that the strikers score and we will give them a lot of possibilities. I am happy with our balance, above all offensively.
Not only with Aubameyang and Lacazette but also with other players. The last matches we find balance.
Maybe against Everton in the last 20 minutes we conceded a lot of transition and struggled a lot defensively.
But generally we are getting better in the balance. We have to carry on trying to find the best chances to score a lot of goals and defensively be strong in our duels. [Napoli] is a big test...Milik, Mertens, Insigne, Callejon, a lot of players who can ask a lot of us.
Have you spoken to Mesut Ozil about the coat throwing incident at Everton on Sunday?
I speak to Mesut as I speak to the other players.
Specifically about the coat throwing?
This is happening all the season. When I decided he’s going to play, some journalists asked me ‘why?’ And when I sometimes decide he’s not playing they ask me ‘why is he not playing?’
Because Arsenal’s away is poor is there pressure to win convincingly to keep season alive?
We are always demanding of ourselves. It’s not pressure. For me playing under pressure is normal.
I am looking forward to playing [against Napoli] and seeing our team in Emirates with our supporters with a big spirit and a good tactical game.
We are being consistent a lot at the moment. We lost the possibility to be in the top four before.
If we win the next match in the PL it is in our hands to be in the fourth or third position. Each match needs all our concentration for that.
Tomorrow against Napoli we need to create a big atmosphere and good energy and be strong together.
Is it more difficult to rotate now that you can’t afford to lose any games?
Our best performances of the season are when we take rotation and the players felt they are important for us. I cannot do a lot of rotation because each match is very important to take the three points.
But I trust in all the players. When we need to make some changes we get a big performance. We are now in fourth but with one game in hand on Chelsea.
It is in our hands to finish in the top four. And we are in the quarter-final of the Europa League and taking the possibility of a title and to get into the Champions League by winning this competition.
I think every player has helped us in the season. Every player is very focussed to help each match. Now we need to be together.
On Sunday we lost and after the match we were very disappointed. We lost a big opportunity. But after the first session on Tuesday everybody was positive because we remembered the bad moments in the PL when we were last in the table and when we were ten points behind Tottenham and Chelsea.
Now we are with them because we are being consistent. We can lose sometimes but we need to lose less matches because we need to win to be in the top four.
But it is in our hands and I have confidence. I know the PL and the Europa League is going to be very difficult but we are going to be strong with good spirit.
We are going to protect the players who are having big criticism, for me also I receive criticism but I don’t play the games and I can get over my criticism. But protect the players because we need them all.
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