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Arsenal boss Unai Emery discusses Mesut Ozil

PUBLISHED: 14:48 21 December 2018

Arsenal manager Unai Emery (pic John Walton/PA)

Arsenal manager Unai Emery (pic John Walton/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking ahead of Burnley’s visit on Saturday. Read on for the full transcript of what he said at his weekly press conference at the club’s training ground London Colney.

On how he’s finding the festive period…

Yes, it’s my first experience here at Christmas working and playing, but I like my work. I want to enjoy playing, I want to enjoy the time with our players and supporters, I want to enjoy winning and working. But we also have time to be with our family, the players and the coaches, and we can see everybody at Emirates Stadium or watching the matches on TV away.

On how important it is to produce a big performance on Saturday…

Each match is very important and when other teams are winning, they are not stopping, they’re improving. We need, after our defeat in Southampton, we need the three points. But I am happy with the players. I think at the Emirates we are continuing strongly and for example, in the last match against Tottenham on Wednesday, the spirit is very good. The players pushed and the players created the chances, and now we continue working on our efficiency to score. I trust in my players, I trust in our strikers, and tomorrow we need every supporter to help us. We are also going to push to give them a good match with energy, by playing well, and also with the three points in victory. We will play with a big respect for Burnley because they are a very good team with very good players. They played very well organised and also defensively they are very strong, and they have the personality to play with the long ball, the second action, a lot of crosses and have players with quality to score. This is a big match tomorrow.

On which injured players may be able to play against Burnley…

We know today, the latest news, and for example Mkhitaryan is out. Koscielny is okay but he played two matches this week and tomorrow will be a lot for him. We also need to be calm with him, to take time for a lot of matches before he continues playing. Sead Kolasinac, I think for tomorrow is okay. Players are continuing to recover with Sead. I don’t remember now. Mkhitaryan is out. Mustafi is also, for tomorrow, out too.

On Koscielny and whether he is being overplayed…

But I trust him and we have solutions for who can play in this position. For example, I read a little criticism for our midfielders like Xhaka playing centre back, but I am very happy with him because his mentality is a very big mentality. He helped us, and he played left back too sometimes and I think he played well. This reason, for me, is that I trust in another player and tomorrow we are going to play with the first 11 and other players in the bench with our performance. I think we’re in a good position to play against Burnley. With respect, but with believing in our work, in our possibilities in other players to play, like a centre back or a midfielder. Above all, I think the mentality is a very big mentality to help us. We have the players and they are playing out of position, like Xhaka and Lichtsteiner last week at Southampton.

On whether the players will train on Christmas Day…

We are going to adapt to this Christmas working because last year I had 10 days for holiday and in Spain it’s seven days usually, but I think the players here have the habit to work and we are going to have Sunday off, then Monday and Tuesday will be preparation for Brighton. We are going to travel on Wednesday morning and they can have the day Tuesday with their family for lunch. I think they are very, very responsible players and they are aware that they need to enjoy time with their family, but with the responsibility of playing a lot of matches over Christmas.

On whether Mesut will be in tomorrow’s squad…

Yes.

On whether it really was a tactical decision in midweek…

Yes.

On whether he likes Mesut and wants him to play…

I want every player with a good mentality to help us and give us their characteristics and quality. We need Mesut Ozil.

On whether he has a future here…

Yes, why not?

On people throwing things at players in the stadium…

Usually here in England the respect is a very important issue for everybody. It’s not good behaviour in this very individual situation and moment. I think everybody has respect for all.

On how frustrated Mesut is to be missing games…

Every player wants to play and be okay to help the team when we need. The frustration is the same for everybody when they didn’t play in a match. But I spoke with him and with the regularity in the season, I am telling him what we need from him and he has the commitment to help us and the quality and the characteristics to help us when the team needs his moments in the pitch in one game. Tomorrow he is in the 18 players, in the squad.

On whether he has spoken to Mesut individually and explained situations…

But I spoke with every player, with Mesut, with Jenkinson, with Mo, with Petr Cech, with Auba. With every player. Sometimes individual, sometimes with the group.

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