Four matches are in the books from the 2019/20 Premier League season. So Arsenal Media used the international break to catch up with Unai Emery to get his thoughts on a variety of topics. Here are a few highlights from the manager on the start of the campaign, a key positive early on, what needs to improve, Matteo Guendouzi and what sport he might like to coach if not soccer.
- Emery remarked that over it’s been a positive start - two wins, a comeback against Tottenham, with the only loss being at Liverpool - and that the squad has shown great spirit. But understands that everyone must demand improvement tactically.
- He noted the importance of how young players have quickly stepped into their roles. How that development continues is a key factor in how well Arsenal can do this season, especially in the early stages of the cup competitions and the Europa League.
- When asked about what needed improvement he touched on helping the new signings adapt to Arsenal and the Premier League. And that while the side was able to show it’s offensive capabilities in the opening four matches, there is clearly work that needs to be done on the defense. But Emery highlight that in his opinion the most important thing right now is continuing to show their spirit and energy.
- The manager has praise for Guendouzi, noting his desire to learn and improve, working to get physically stronger and setting a good example of how Arsenal can develop players. Multiple times in the interview, including on this topic Emery highlighted Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe.
- Emery acknowledges that the defense needs Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney back in the fold. Not just to improve the defense, but the need for them in training, to push the competition among players, and as the schedule fills up with midweek games forcing rotation.
Then Arsenal Media took a few quick questions from social media, including:
- Favorite Moment - Playing at the Emirates & the connection with the supporters.
- Coaching Inspiration - John Toshack and his time with Real Sociedad
- Learning English - He noted doing each interview in English is a big challenge, but he is motivated to learn it to help express his goals to the fans and the players.
- Managing another sport - If not soccer, Emery said he could see himself coaching tennis, mentioning the need to be mentally engaged the entire time.
To watch the full 19-minute interview head over to Arsenal.com. The Gunners return to action this Sunday at 11:30 am ET / 8:30 am PT traveling to take on bottom of the table Watford.