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Arsenal boss Unai Emery on Blackpool, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, possibility of signing Keylor Navas and more

PUBLISHED: 14:08 03 January 2019

Arsenal manager Unai Emery during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium (pic Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Arsenal manager Unai Emery during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium (pic Dominic Lipinski/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking ahead of the FA Cup third round trip to Blackpool.

Emery on what he’s expecting from Blackpool…

Good afternoon. It’s a new competition we are going to start, the FA Cup. In the history, it’s been very important for us. Arsenal is the team that has won this competition 13 times, more than anyone else. It’s a title and it’s a possibility for us to do something important. We are going to start that at Blackpool. We know them because we played against them and we have the respect. We’ll prepare for the match with this respect for them, but also respect for this competition. It’s a way to [win] a title. We want to play and have positive things with our supporters in this way.

On the sort of side he could pick at Blackpool…

We trained this morning and tomorrow we are going to do the last training before this match. Tomorrow we will know how we can be with the players [and who could feature] but [we’ll play] with respect for this competition. I want to take a team with the players being competitive. The team for Saturday is the same, maybe we can share with some players who are playing less, or some young players, but thinking above all of finding a big performance there with our players. This is our idea at the beginning.

On when he first became aware of the FA Cup when growing up…

I know it’s very important for every English team. It’s a different competition, with a chance for a lot of teams. The first idea when I arrived here was to play for all the titles. Arsenal is in the history the best team in this competition, played 20 finals, won 13 times. This respect for our supporters and the competition I took quickly. I want to do something important and this is a big opportunity for us. It will be very difficult but we’re excited for this competition and are looking forward to starting on Saturday.

On if he watched a cup final on TV growing up…

Usually I followed every competition. I don’t remember which matches exactly but I know this competition is very important for Arsenal.

On if he’s been to Blackpool before…

No. I know it’s 90km from Liverpool and I know they’ve played in the Premier League.

On if he’s prepared for an unusual atmosphere with Blackpool fans in dispute with the owners…

When we played here against them in the Carabao Cup, we knew this history of this club. They aren’t in the best moment for that. But here against us at the Emirates they played very competitively and gave us a lot of difficult moments. I have a big respect for each team and I know they are one team now not in the best moment but the respect is there because it’s a very big opportunity for them to play against us with their supporters and live this important moment, finding the chances against us.

On Liverpool v Man City - and what could happen and who he wants to win…

At the moment they are the two best teams in the Premier League, also with Tottenham in this moment. It’s a very big match for all the supporters of football. I am going to watch it like a football supporter, to learn and to take more information on the two teams, tactically and individually. I think it’s a great match in football.

On if it would help AFC if City won tonight…

We can only respond in our way. We aren’t in the top four and we have three points difference to Chelsea. Liverpool and Manchester City, they are far [in front], Tottenham maybe also, but we need the motivation to do one way, to get closer. The difference [in points] between Liverpool and us is big.

On if he’ll play a full strength squad v Blackpool…

We are going to be competitive. The priority is the next match, and that’s Blackpool. I am going to play with the players to be competitive. If we need some young players to do one mix, but finding this power to be stronger with them, we will do it. The priority now is Blackpool.

On reports linking Navas with Arsenal…

Not true.

On if there’s interest…

I don’t know. We never speak about one goalkeeper because I think - and it’s true - we are very happy with the three goalkeepers we have now. We’ve never spoken about Keylor Navas.

On if there have been talks with Juve on Ramsey…

I don’t know. I want his focus every day with us on training and thinking for the next match, which is against Blackpool. I am looking at him and he’s very concentrated with us now. On Tuesday, he scored when he played 15 minutes, and he gave a good performance. I want that from him, and also he needs to [look] at his future. But I want him in the present with us. At the end of the season is the moment he can go to one team or another team.

On Ozil - and his future at the club…

I am only waiting [for him] to be OK to play.

On team news…

This morning Dinos Mavropanos started to train after I think five months. That’s good news. Emile Smith Rowe trained with us this morning. Continuing with his injury and not OK to train with us is Mustafi, he has to recover from his small injury and continue working alone. Bellerin and Nacho Monreal, Mkhitaryan and also Mesut didn’t train this morning. Tomorrow is the last day, we are going to wait for tomorrow, for how we can be for Saturday.

On if Ozil could be involved…

This morning, he didn’t train.

On Holding and Welbeck…

They are progressing well but it’s long injuries. Thy are working with the doctor.

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