Unai Emery was unveiled as the new Arsenal manager on Wednesday. We review the main points from his first press conference.
A new Arsenal and a sense of optimism. From the off, it was apparent that Unai Emery wants this job and will work hard to make it a success.
He’s dedicated, humble and mostly importantly ambitious. There’s a sense of optimism around the appointment and, although he spoke in broken English, it was easy to gather that Emery brings a good mixture of passion and pragmatism.
So let’s dive in and analyse the key points from Unai Emery’s first press conference as Arsenal boss.It’s apparent that his English is average
1. He’s extremely humble.
Emery seemed humble with his tribute to Arsene Wenger, thanking him for his “legacy”.
“For all coaches in the world you are a reference.”
“I learned from him all the things in football.”
“It is a big challenge for me but I work also with other big projects and for me I am proud to be here and to work after Arsene Wenger.”
2. He’s not shying away from the challenge.
Emery pointed out his immediate priorities, stating that he will speak individually to each player face-to-face and get an understanding for the club and attitudes.
It’s apparent that his English is average, but he is dedicated to learn the language, an important aspect of the job.
“All the conversations with Ivan and people who work here, to give me all the information about the club. I know all the players, I think they are very important and I want to speak individually with them face to face.”
3. The Spaniard was not a backup option.
Most people had come under the presumption that Arsenal were going to appoint Mikel Arteta as new manager. So when he was surprisingly not picked, it came to the fore that many thought Emery was not first choice for the job.
Ivan Gazidis was quick to nip this in the bud at the beginning of the press conference, stating that Unai Emery was first choice and a unanimous decision for the position.
“I’m really delighted and excited to announce the new head coach. I know that came as a bit of a surprise, perhaps there were one or two rewrites necessary. But those who know won’t speak and those who speak won’t know. I’ll give you a little insight into the process.
We formed a three-person committee of me, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi. We had some clear criteria: aggressive, entertaining football; personality that fitted with Arsenal’s values; also a record of developing players through detailed tactical instruction and also cultural demand, pushing players.
“We looked through and analysed on the basis that every coach in the world would be interested in this position. We don’t believe any position in world football is more attractive. We created an eight-person longlist. All of them were interested and took part in extensive, in-person interviews. None of them at any stage withdrew their interest.
So we were in a fortunate position to make our first choice, and that’s what we did. Our first interviewee was conducted on 25th April, our last was conducted on 15th May and we interviewed Unai on 10th May. We made our unanimous recommendation to the board on 18th May, accompanied by a 100-page dossier.
We then met with London members of our board on Monday this week. Unai and Raul and I flew to Atlanta and met Josh and Stan Kroenke and flew back on the red-eye last night.
4. He already has a strong relationship with the board.
There’s no doubt that Emery boasts an impressive managerial career, improving each team he has managed and boasting a fantastic record. Most importantly, he gets on well with the board and it’s apparent that they have the same mindset for the direction of the club.
“Unai was incredibly impressive, he came in extraordinarily well prepared, he had an analysis of all of our individual players, their qualities and how he believes he can help them develop individually and collectively, and also a detailed analysis of our off-field team.
But this wasn’t a purely technical exercise. What also distinguished Unai was the chemistry between us and feeling for football in the room. His detail, hard work, love for football and will to win made us think this fit was exactly right.”
Emery confirmed later on in the press conference that his relationship with both the board and the owners is a good one, stating that the chemistry between them was fantastic. An important note was that the both Emery and the board/owners discussed what the fans wanted.
“I had three fantastic meetings. First I met with Ivan, Raul and Sven, they analysed me as a person and a coach, and thought I could be an option for this team. I have to say after a three-hour meeting there was fantastic chemistry between us.
That came simply from the fact it was Arsenal, a wonderful history, and I hoped there could be a new future for the club.
The second meeting was with the owners, the heart of the club, they transmitted what the fans wanted and I felt a positive energy.
My third meeting was in Atlanta and again I had a fantastic feeling. Everything has been very positive in terms of the challenge, which makes me very proud and is a great opportunity to grow.”
5. He will bring a balanced mixture of ambition and optimism.
Emery didn’t hold back on any lack of ambition when speaking at the press conference, stating that the challenge was a “dream come true.” He’s clearly optimistic about the opportunity handed to him and will bring a large amount of dedication and hard work in order to make things work.
“In all the meetings with the people – Ivan, Raul, Sven – the connection was very important. We spoke about all they want and I want to work together, on this club, this responsibility.
To know my ambition, my passion. It is a big responsibility but I think this feeling is very important and my experiences with big clubs are important. All the conversations are very good.”
When asked about his target for the club, Emery didn’t hold back on his ambitious and future view on Arsenal. He wants success, “ be the best team in the Premier League and also the world.”
“I believe in the players we have here. We can grow with these players and the objective is to work hard with these talented players, to work to be a candidate for all the titles in the future. Then it’s very important for the club, after two years outside the Champions League, to work towards this, to arrive and be the best team in the Premier League and also the world.”
He showed a down to earth style alongside a clear and optimistic desire to win trophies.
“All titles are important for us. We can, and want to be, candidates for them. I don’t promise today we will win, but I can promise you we will work hard, will work together, will work with emotion, demanding to find all the objectives.”
6. It is the beginning of a new Arsenal.
When asked about the past and what has gone wrong with the club, Emery quickly noted that he will only look to the future and to a new page.
“I don’t say that, I’m not looking backwards, we’re doing it in a new way but you’re never going to hear me being critical of what’s gone before. Now is the time for us to turn a new page and look forward with confidence. There’s a special feeling here and we need to recapture this and push this club forward.”
7. Arsenal fans can expect a possession-led style of play.
Emery is going to bring a style of play keen on possession. Notably, he touched an area of weakness in Arsenal’s game play – their defence. Emery will look to bring stability to that area, with intense pressing.
“In my career I am very demanding for all, demanding of the players also. My idea is to be a protagonist for all of the match. We play against teams with this personality, and I think the history here shows they love playing with possession of the ball.
I like this, and when you don’t have possession of the ball I want a squad very, very intense in pressing. It’s two things that are very important for me. Being a protagonist, possession of the ball, and pressing.”
So what style of play will Unai Emery bring to us?
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 23, 2018
Dean Byrne, Pundit Arena.