Emery puts mentality ahead of tactics for trip to Huddersfield
Arsenal boss says his players perform better when they think ‘it’s going to be very difficult’
Arsenal manager Unai Emery, right, expects Huddersfield to press high rather and he accepts his team must be better against this type of approach. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters
Unai Emery believes Arsenal’s major problem on their travels has been inside the minds of his players. The team have lost four and drawn two of their past six Premier League away games to slip to sixth in the table and the manager knows the rot has to stop at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Emery did not quite accuse his players of complacency but he did admit that they look better when they “prepare the matches by thinking it’s going to be very difficult”.
Despite Huddersfield being bottom of the league, Emery talked them up. Respect for the opposition is one of his guiding principles but it was also easy to discern the message for his team. They must take a winning mentality to the John Smith’s Stadium and demonstrate their focus from the first minute to the last – as they have done in some home fixtures, most notably against Spurs and Chelsea.
“We can have better balance [in performances] when we prepare by thinking it’s going to be very difficult,” Emery said. “I spoke with the players [and told them] we need to think this match is very important for us. Every player needs to be ready, be focused and be thinking we need to win this match.
‘To think we need to win’
“We must impose ourselves from the first minute and throughout the 90 minutes but first is the mentality. It’s to think this match will be very difficult. For us tactics are the second issue. The first is to think we need to win and after that it’s how we can win – preparing tactically and individually.”
Emery expects Huddersfield – now under the management of Jan Siewert – to press high rather than defend deep and he accepts his team must be better against this type of approach. He described himself as his own biggest critic and he wants a return to the higher levels of confidence of earlier in the season.
“Above all we must work hard, take a good feeling in training and then show it in the match. This week we’ve had good days of training because the feeling of the players and their wish to work is good. I want to do the same against Huddersfield. After that, we know we can win.” It was put to Emery that with Huddersfield in such poor form, this is surely a match Arsenal have to win. “Yes,” he replied with a smile.