Arsenal boss Emery apologises for bottle incident at Brighton
PUBLISHED: 21:57 26 December 2018 | UPDATED: 21:57 26 December 2018
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Unai Emery has apologised after kicking a water bottle against a Brighton supporter towards the end of Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Brighton.
The Gunners manager spoke to the fan immediately and then again at the final whistle.
He said: “I said to them apologies because I kicked the bottle after a disappointing action for us in the last minutes. It wasn’t hard, but it touched one supporter for them. I said to them I’m sorry.”
Emery had been left frustrated by his side’s second-half display when they failed to restore the lead given to them by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s fourth-minute goal.
A mistake by Arsenal right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner had allowed Jurgen Locadia to equalise in the 35th minute and Emery admitted his side had fallen short.
“I think the key today was the first 45 minutes,” he said. “We controlled the match like we want, we scored and had two good chances from Aubameyang to get the second - but their keeper saved.
“But then they equalised. From then, it gave us the second half to try again to control the match, create chances and be able to win - but we didn’t do that.”
Emery attempted to influence the game by introducing Alex Iwobi in place of Mesut Ozil at half-time and then replacing Alexandre Lacazette with Aaron Ramsey just after the hour.
“Tactically some matches I did that (changed the game with his substitutions),” said Emery
“I wanted to control better the positioning on the pitch, but in the second half we couldn’t do our ideas on the pitch to impose. We created less chances in the second half.
“It was only tactical (to take off Ozil). We did before, in other matches also change the idea from the first half with other players. And today I did it with Mesut, that is only tactically, not another problem.”
The Spaniard accepted the mistake that led to the Brighton goal, insisting his side remains a work-in-progress as they attempt to return to the Champions League next season.
“It’s football,” he said. “We are in our process. We are improving. It’s a difficult moment for us because we have some injuries, but I want also to look at other players playing in the big games like today, Saturday another match in Liverpool.
“When an injury closes one option for one player, it’s opening the door for other players to come with us and play.
“Saturday is another match. We will recover the players, we are going to look at how Laurent Koscielny is and if Shkodran Mustafi is OK.
“While we are close to the top four, I can have big motivation. Today for me was very important. It was a very important three points, but football is like that and in 90 minutes we draw.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton insisted Locadia, who scored his first goal since February, will not be leaving the club next month despite reports linking the striker with a move back to Holland.
He said: “It’s been difficult for him but he is somebody who trains well every day and when the chance comes along he was ready.
“He will certainly be feeling better now than he was a month ago.
“It was never going to happen that he moves in January. He is someone that wants to do well and I am really confident that what he said was taken out of context.
“He is someone who wants to play and I understand all of that. But at this moment I am pleased for him because he has given us options.
“You need all your players and that type of competition and generally.”