When the search for Arsenal’s new manager got underway following the departure of Arsene Wenger after 22 years, Unai Emery wasn’t the first choice and neither was he an obvious one. Arsenal are believed to have interviewed 10 candidates before deciding on Emery and just 3 months into his tenure, it is becoming a little clearer on the reasons why.
In an interview, Unai Emery gave insights into what that winning presentation at Arsenal might have comprised of that led him to become Wenger’s successor at The Emirates.
"Our style with the ball is to be protagonists, to do things with combinations, to control the match with the positioning of the ball. And then when we have the space, to be aggressive going forward.
"Defensively: first it is to be organised, recover the ball quickly. But in these two moments in the match we need to work. To say it here is easier than doing it on the pitch. We also need time, but now I am happy because I think the players are improving.
"We need two things: quality players, which we have, and then organisation. Together I think we can improve, to win in our way. I repeat: organised, then play."
Arsenal under Arsene Wenger were often criticised for being tactically naive, relying too much on their attacking flair and turning a blind eye to defensive responsibilities. Under, Emery that is set to change.
"When we are thinking in an attacking moment, I want the goalkeeper thinking for that, he is the first. The same when we are thinking defensively, I want our strikers to be thinking: 'We need to protect the goalkeepers'. I want those two moments to feel the same for all players.
"Each player has this quality, this characteristic to help the team as a collective. For me, that is very important."
Arsenal play their first match of the Premier League against reigning champions Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, 12 August. (KO - 8:30pm IST)