Unai Emery believes he will be handed the time necessary to “get Arsenal back to where the club deserves to be” despite a recent slump threatening the Gunners’ chances of a return to the Champions League.
After a 22-game unbeaten run between August and December, Arsenal have lost three of their last six Premier League matches to fall six points behind Chelsea in the battle for a top-four finish.
However, the Spaniard is confident that he is not working under the same time pressure to succeed as he was at Paris Saint-Germain where one league title and four domestic cups in two seasons in charge were not enough to keep his job due to a lack of progress in the Champions League.
“The idea is to get Arsenal back to where the club deserves to be, but it needs time,” Emery told Sky Sports.
“At Arsenal, it’s maybe the first time I feel that I have the support to build up from the bottom in order to get where we want to be. It allows us to work more for the long-term – or at least, ‘long-term’ in football terms. It supports the kind of work we want to do at this club.”
Of more immediate concern for Emery is making the best of the resources available to him after claiming the club doesn’t have the funds for any permanent transfers this month.
A large chunk of Arsenal’s budget is tied up in a lucrative deal handed to Mesut Ozil last January that runs until 2021. The former German international is the club’s highest earner, reportedly on £350,000 a week.
However, Ozil failed to even make Emery’s squad for the 1-0 defeat at West Ham last weekend and has been routinely dropped throughout the course of the season.
Emery, though, is hoping his treatment of the former Real Madrid star will get the best out of Ozil rather than force him out of the club.
“At certain times, you have to provoke friction with footballers,” added Emery.
“From that friction, you can get something more out of them, something from inside, a greater sense of ambition or maybe even a complaint – a complaint regarding the team can be positive.
“As a manager, you have to be careful because that friction can break a relationship. But I believe in always looking for more, both individually and collectively.
“In the end, the main thing with any footballer is that their qualities are used to benefit the team. As a manager, you have to get the maximum out of that player and at the same time make sure that he fits with the rest of the team so that everyone is better.”
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)