Arsenal manager Unai Emery has been discussing the ‘challenge’ he has of restoring the North London club to its former glories.
The Spaniard became the first new manager that Arsenal had appointed in the best part of a quarter of a century, replacing Arsene Wenger after his 22 year spell in charge.
While Wenger is the clubs most successful manager of all time, he left his successor with a hell of a rebuilding job to do, having failed to qualify for the Champions League in each of his last two seasons, and having amassed a squad littered with substandard players.
Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports, Unai Emery has said that his first challenge was to identify where his side could improve, adding that ‘there were lots of things to change’.
“When a club changes manager, it is because they want something new,” Emery said.
“The challenge is to identify the good things – the things you have to maintain – but also the things that you have to change and improve. Here, obviously, there were lots of things to change and improve.”
Emery’s summer signings indicated that central midfield and defence were particular concerns for him upon his arrival, bringing in the likes of Sokratis, Stephan Lichtseteiner and Lucas Torreira to bolster his squad.
Despite a positive start to the season, things have slowed down at the Emirates in recent weeks, with the Gunners sliding six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
However, the former Sevilla and PSG coach said he does not feel under pressure to achieve instant success.
“The adaptation of the club and team is progressing in a positive way. In terms of getting into the Champions League and finishing in the top four, which is our main objective, it is true that we are not there right now. The competitive level is very high,” he added.
“But firstly, I believe we have time to achieve that this season. And secondly, we knew there were going to be difficulties in this process. The most important thing is to be aware that the difficulties will come, and at that moment still be able to make progress. That is the idea. The idea is to get Arsenal back to where the club deserves to be, but it needs time.”
While Arsenal possess one of the most potent strikers in the league in the form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Emery admitted that his defence still needs to improve.
“There are things we have managed to improve but there are other things that need more time, and defensive consistency is one of them.
“We still have a lot of work to do there.”