Unai Emery happy with Arsenal’s progress
Gunners boss focusing on the positives in advance of tricky trip to Sheffield United
Unai Emery: “We can be positive and we can think we are going to do something important this year.” Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA
Unai Emery believes Arsenal can achieve something important this season, appearing to suggest they can finish in the top four and challenge Liverpool and Manchester City at the top.
The Gunners have only lost once in the Premier League this term and were third ahead of the weekend’s fixtures while they have enjoyed success in the Carabao Cup and Europa League with more games to come in those competitions before October is over.
Arsenal lost out to Chelsea in the final of the Europa League last season and finished fifth, but Emery is positive they can achieve even more after recent chats with head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu.
“I am speaking every day with Raul, Edu and with the players,” Emery said ahead of their trip to Sheffield United.
“Our work is more important than our speak [words] and really now I am very happy at the club. I am really happy with the players. The last two, three, four weeks, every player – and Mesut Ozil – is working very well.
“This is why we can be positive and we can think we are going to do something important this year. I was speaking with Raul and this is the same idea when he is speaking with me.”
A feather in Emery’s cap is his use of young, English players with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka all handed opportunities since the Spaniard took over in the summer of 2018.
He believes they are a key part of the process which will see the Gunners return to the upper echelons of the table and challenging for the title again.
“We can play better each match. It’s one process. Little by little we’re using the young players to achieve the performance, giving them confidence and experience in the matches,” Emery added.
“For example, Bukayo Saka is improving, helping us and taking a good performance. I know he needs to make more steps ahead in his improvement. Other players are the same.
“For us it’s very important to be competitive each match. We are being competitive at the moment. Being competitive we can then achieve a better way for how we can play.
“If we are competitive we can use different players in different moments, some with more skill, some with more capacity to do pressing and transition. We can use them if we, like a team, can feel strong in our mentality and being competitive and consistent each match.”