My critics have short memories, insists Arsenal boss Emery

Unai Emery has suggested his critics have short memories after launching an impassioned defence of his Arsenal tenure.

The Spaniard was criticised after his side lost their Premier League game away to Sheffield United on Monday night.

It was just a second defeat of the season across all competitions for the Gunners, but Emery’s pragmatic approach to games has seen some supporters turn against him.

Arsenal fell flat at Bramall Lane
Arsenal fell flat at Bramall Lane (Danny Lawson/PA)

The 47-year-old replaced Arsene Wenger last summer but came up painfully short of securing a return to the Champions League at the end of his first season.

Arsenal finished a point off the Premier League top four and lost the Europa League final to Chelsea, leaving Emery and his players facing another campaign in Europe’s second-tier club competition.

The mentality of his squad was questioned after a 1-0 loss at Bramall Lane, but he hit back when it was put to him that large sections of supporters feel the football he promotes is boring.

“Sometimes we forget the memory and we need to remember,” he said.

“When I arrived here, this team needed to improve on being more competitive. This team in history was winning 1-0 and being very competitive, but it wasn’t enough.

“Then, one process – being competitive and with improved creativity. When I arrived here, the creativity is more or less good, but being competitive was worse. It was not enough.

“I think last year I started to improve being competitive, also more or less creativity with some very good matches playing with that creativity.

“This year we are in that process if only we change one step more, but also with patience because our strategy as a club is some new players, young players, we changed 10 players who were leaving and continuing being competitive.

“We are being competitive. Creativity, maybe we lost something a little, but I know we are going to recover that. There are a lot of supporters with different opinions.

“Some want more creativity, some want maybe more intensity, more energy. I want both and my way is both.”

Emery led training ahead of Thursday's game against Vitoria Guimaraes
Emery led training ahead of Thursday’s game against Vitoria Guimaraes (Steven Paston/PA)

Emery, who talked with his players for 10 minutes on the training ground on the eve of their Europa League clash with Vitoria Guimaraes as technical director Edu watched on from the sidelines, also pointed to the turnover in players and the desire to promote young talent as reasons for the delay in returning Arsenal to the top – but told fans he will make it happen.

“We have time and we have very young players, who we are giving confidence and minutes in the Premier League to adapt to the rhythm we want,” he added.

“We are getting there but we can do better. I know we need to win, we need to achieve our targets.

“And then how we can play better and then how we can show and transmit to our supporters all they want to see in our team.

“Last year we did not achieve, we were in the table by one point and in the Europa League final and we lost in the end. And OK, we were there. And this year – (we need to) be there and take it.”

“OK we lost (on Monday) and it was a bad moment. Twenty-four hours after I have struggled with the same feelings, but that is normal. That is my life. I don’t want that.

“I have one friend says to me, ‘go to train your town team Hondarribia and you don’t have that problem’.

“But I know this is my work. And also my work is to analyse, to respond the supporters. They are also waiting to see our strategy on how we can improve.

“We are playing for our supporters and my message is that we are going to carry on with patience.”

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