Many Arsenal fans weren’t too disappointed to see the back of Unai Emery following his sacking in November 2019, though the Spaniard has reflected on what was a ‘positive’ time in charge at the Emirates.
Emery was appointed to much fanfare as the man to take over the reins following Arsene Wenger’s departure in the summer of 2018, though despite his impressive record with Sevilla, he would be removed from his post after less than 18 months in charge after an underwhelming spell in charge.
Emery’s first season in charge saw Arsenal finish outside the top four places, while they also missed out on Champions League qualification after they suffered defeat to Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku.
Aside from the results, the Gunners style of play under the Emery drew plenty of criticism from the north London faithful who became publicly frustrated with their manager and a lack of improvement.
While his tenure is unlikely to be too fondly remembered by those of an Arsenal persuasion, the 49-year-old insists his time at the Emirates was a ‘positive experience’, while suggesting that the club made some poor decisions during his final few months in charge.
“I was in Arsenal for a year and a half and first year I think was a very good season,” he told football.london.
🗣️ Unai Emery praises Arsenal yougnster Bukayo Saka
💪 "He's progressing. You could tell he's a very intelligent, smart kid" pic.twitter.com/hURYjSeR6w
— The Arsenal Review (@thearsreview) January 13, 2021
“We achieved the Europa League final, we were at the last moment with the possibility to be in the top four and I think last year when I was there we recovered a lot of confidence for the club and the fans and for the players and I think we finished well that season.
“I was very happy, enjoying it and working very well. The club supported me and I was happy with the players, the atmosphere and the supporters – only the second six months of the second year when I finished in November I think we made some decisions not good for the club, but not for me, the decisions of the club.
“When the results were a little bit bad the situation changed but my first year in Arsenal I remember a lot of positive things, on the sidelines the same. I enjoyed being a coach of Arsenal and I’m very grateful for that moment I had in Arsenal.
“For me it’s not negative, it was a positive experience and after I left the club the first month was not easy for me because I was running out of things [to do] but now I am very grateful to the owners, the club, the supporters, the players, the workers in Colney. I now only remember the very good things there and the first year for me was a very good performance for us.
“I worked well with Mr Kroenke, Raul [Sanllehi], [Ivan] Gazidis during the first months there. The results towards the end were the main problem but for me it was a positive experience and I’m grateful to Arsenal for the opportunity.
“This is football. Now I want the best for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, the supporters and everyone at the club.”