Unai Emery on Everton, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and his enjoyment of being Arsenal head coach: ‘Every day I wake up smiling’
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Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking ahead of the crucial match at Goodison Park on Sunday when the Gunners take on Everton. Read on for every word he said from the broadcast media section of his weekly press conference at London Colney.
On team news…
Good afternoon. We are waiting for tomorrow’s training, because some players - Xhaka, Koscielny - didn’t train with us today. They are working alone with the physio. Aaron Ramsey started training normally today and the other players are well.
On away form determining a place in the top four…
We are thinking game by game and we know we have five of seven matches away. For us it’s a big challenge, away [from home] we want to achieve the same good performances as when we play at Emirates Stadium. We have confidence now but we know it’s very difficult and I think it’s a long way until the last matches. We’ll think about each match coming, [get] the information on how we can take the next matches. Now, each match is worth three points, like Sunday against Everton, which is the most important. We know other clubs will take a lot of points.
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On the discrepancy…
In all my career, I’ve felt and done the same [home and away]. It’s not just for me. I watched other teams and usually every team gets more points at home than away. After this, how can we take our performances and the best result away? It’s our challenge. The last matches in the Premier League - Tottenham and Huddersfield - we’ve had good performances and results, being competitive. We need to feel in our moment that we’re getting better and being competitive at home. We want to be the same away but we know that the difficulty is that in each match at home, they can feel better. Everton won against Chelsea and drew against Liverpool in their last matches at home.
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On Mesut Ozil…
He’s working very well, playing very well, he’s helping us. I’m very happy with him. I think the team has a good atmosphere, good spirit with each player helping us with their qualities and good behaviour. That’s the spirit I want, they are doing that, and Mesut is like the others [in that regard].
On if he’ll start Alex Lacazette again on Sunday…
Each match is different and in each match, we might play with three, or four, or five in defence. It depends above all on our quality with the players. We need every player, every striker, Lacazette and Aubameyang. Sometimes they can both play, sometimes with one on the bench. It depends in the 90 minutes how we can respond tactically with one or two. Above all it’s very important to be with the commitment in every moment to help us and to understand what we need in each moment.
On Danny Rose’s comments and racism - should teams walk off pitch if they suffer racist abuse and would he do the same?
I am in agreement. I think we need to be together for the action we can take and taking responsibility, each team. I agree that we need to be together against racism and not let anything with racism in the stadiums.
On the run-in and the importance of the Everton game…
I am very realistic. We are in a good moment. It depends on Sunday as well, these three points, but now each match is very important for that. If we win, we are third. If we don’t win, we can’t hold this position. But football is each moment to enjoy, to prepare, to work, to play. It depends if we are efficient on the pitch. If we are - for 90 minutes - competitive, then I think we can achieve these three points. But it’s a long way to go and we need to be positive, but also realistic and the reality is that Sunday is a very big challenge and a very big opportunity now. We are going to continue in our way and Sunday is the first. I think the players are very, very focused for this match and for our moment.
I enjoy each match with our supporters, preparing for the matches like Sunday against Everton, the Premier League and working with the players. Each training session for me is important and I wake up every day smiling and thinking that it’s a good opportunity for me to continue working on my passion, which is football. I’m here with you, with everybody and after I win I’m happier than if I lose. I’m enjoying it.
On if Arsenal are where he wants them to be this season…
Yes. Now I think we are OK, but each match gives us information on how we can finish each match and Sunday is the same.