Unai Emery says Arsenal's first-half intensity hard to maintain in win
Last Updated: 24/02/19 5:55pm
Unai Emery was happy with his changes for Arsenal's win over Southampton but said their early intensity had been tough to keep up.
The Gunners raced into a 2-0 lead inside 17 minutes at the Emirates, less than three days after their last game against BATE in the Europa League, but struggled to keep up with their own early energy levels as they cruised through an uneventful second half to go fourth in the Premier League.
Emery's side are not given a break as they are are back in action on Wednesday night when they host Bournemouth, and the Arsenal manager said: "Everyone played like we want, and after the match on Thursday, playing today and Wednesday we needed different players because playing this intensity is not easy, and the performance like we want we need everybody.
"I'm very happy because the players worked a lot, and we decided to make some changes to bring in new players, to keep up the energy. In the first half we played very well but we wanted to carry on in the second, but it's not easy 90 minutes with this intensity."
Emery paid tribute to his squad's depth after making four changes from their last Premier League game with Huddersfield and six from the win over BATE on Thursday night, as they made relatively light work of a side who had lost only one of their previous six league games.
He said: "The players worked a lot, and we decided to make some changes to bring in new players, to keep up the energy. In the first half we played very well but we wanted to carry on in the second, but it's not easy 90 minutes with this intensity.
"We have players who can come in, and we can be a better competitive team playing a lot of matches with players with different characteristics, but who have the character to play with the level we want."