Unai Emery says Mesut Ozil must improve his consistency, and uses Liverpool as an Arsenal inspiration
By Ron Walker
Last Updated: 24/11/18 9:03am
Unai Emery sat down with former player Charlie Nicholas to talk Arsenal, Mesut Ozil, English life and more...
Emery spoke to Nicholas, who played 184 appearances for the club in the 1980s, ahead of Arsenal's Super Sunday game at Bournemouth, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 12.30pm, with the club on an impressive unbeaten run.
The Spanish boss revealed he is inspiring his team to put two difficult seasons behind them by focusing on Liverpool's rapid rise from Europa League final defeat - to Emery's Sevilla - to reaching a Champions League final in that same period - and hoping they can emulate that level of success.
"I remember three years ago we were playing with Sevilla against Liverpool the final of Europa League, and Liverpool were then not able to reach the Champions League," Emery said. "Two years later, they were in the final of the Champions League.
"That's a good example for us - maybe we cannot do the same, because it's very very difficult and they worked very well with [Jurgen] Klopp to get to this, but the difference between us and other teams now - Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea - we can reach the same level as them. But we need time, we need work.
"Today I was speaking in the dressing room with the players for half an hour, different things, tactically and other things. We have scored 26 goals in the Premier League. That's very good for us. But how many have we conceded? 15. That is a lot.
"At the moment the balance is positive, but it is not enough. We need to keep the scoring statistic, but concede fewer chances and let in less goals. 16 games without losing, that's fantastic. But the last three we have drawn. That is not enough at the moment."
Unleashing some of his forward talent has been one of Emery's biggest successes since taking over from Arsene Wenger in the summer.
In patches, he has managed to bring the best out of Mesut Ozil, and despite suggestions of friction between the German midfielder and his coach, Emery told Sky Sports he will get more from the World Cup winner.
"His commitment is good, he trains well," Emery said. "I have spoken with him and I push him to give even more quality in matches, and keep up the good performances against big and small teams, home and away.
"Every player has their challenge to help the team. They all have a challenge individually and collectively to improve. And with Mesut, a big player, we need to continue working to hold that high level of quality in each match."
Emery has previously been credited with helping the rise of David Silva and Alvaro Negredo while in Spain - players who all went on to have various degrees of success in England.
He has already given unknown youngster Mateo Guendouzi the chance to shine since his move from French second tier side Lorient, but says it is his personal, rather than tactical, skills which have brought such success.
"When I work with players, whether their level is higher or lower, for me the most important thing is to know the person, what is in their heart," he said. "My first thing with every club I have worked in is to get a personal relationship with the players, and then build a professional one.
"And the best success for me is not one trophy, it's not harmony, it's when players improve and grow."
Watch the full interview on Soccer Saturday from 12pm.