Unai Emery has claimed he deserved to be given more time to succeed at Arsenal, saying that the players at the club ‘did not have the right attitude’.
Arsenal fans were delighted when Emery was appointed as the man to replace Arsene Wenger in the summer of 2018, though that excitement would turn to disappointment after the Gunners produced much of the same as under the long-serving Frenchman.
Despite looking decent going forward, the north London club would surrender too many points through being defensively poor, scoring 73 and conceding 51 goals in the Premier League last season, an almost identical record to Wenger’s final season in charge (74 scored, 51 conceded).
Arsenal did come close to securing Champions League qualification, finishing a point outside the top four places and losing the Europa League final to Chelsea, and Emery has now claimed that he needed ‘more time’ to implement his ideas while saying some players ‘asked for more than they gave’.
“Arsenal was a club on the downward slope for two years when I arrived,” Emery told France Football. “We stopped this fall and even started to straighten the club with a Europa League final and a fifth place in the championship, only one place behind Tottenham while we only took a point in the last five days.
“We had the qualification for the Champions League in hand and it went wrong in the final. But it was a good season and we had the idea to continue this progression. But we lost our four captains: (Laurent) Koscielny, (Petr) Cech, (Aaron) Ramsey and (Nacho) Monreal.
“We have missed personalities this season to stay on track. And some stars did not have the right attitude and asked for more than they gave. Given all that, it would have taken more time to successfully transition to the new Arsenal that I wanted.”
Emery did concede that he was ‘partly responsible’ for the clubs shortcomings but added that he doesn’t think they are doing much better under his replacement, Mikel Arteta.
“At Arsenal, there was a process in place this year that took longer than planned with our leaders’ departures and individual underperformance,” he continued.
“Of course, I am partly responsible, but you can see the team isn’t necessarily doing better since my departure.”