Carragher feels Emery has 'created confusion' at Arsenal but Neville insists his managerial record merits more respect
Wednesday 27 November 2019 07:41, UK
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville gave contrasting views on Unai Emery on Monday Night Football after Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Southampton on Saturday cranked up the pressure on the Spaniard.
Arsenal have only won one of their last eight games in all competitions, leaving them below Wolves, Sheffield United and Burnley in the Premier League table and prompting angry fans to call for Emery to be sacked.
Carragher believes Emery's methods have caused confusion, insisting he is not currently performing at the level required for a club with Champions League aspirations, but Neville insists the 48-year-old's record deserves greater respect and that he has not become a poor coach overnight.
"I go back to the first Monday Night Football of last season, when we had a debate about Unai Emery," said Carragher. "Gary's stance was, stick to your principles. Mine was that I like to see a manager adapt at different times.
"Unai Emery hasn't adapted, he has created confusion. Confusion in the crowd, confusion with his own players, and confusion for himself.
"The game against Southampton almost sums up the 18 months of Unai Emery.
"They score goals because they've got great strikers; they concede goals, we saw that again; they try and play out from the back and almost concede goals; they concede 20 plus shots in almost every game and the manager changes formation. He had three formations at the weekend.
"Since the start of last season, he has used more players than anyone. The biggest one for me, though, is that he's made changes before half-time or at half-time than anyone. That's what you would expect a team at the bottom to be doing, scrambling around, trying things.
"This is a man who predominantly likes to play 4-2-3-1, but look at his formations and how many times he changes it. I just look at it and I'm not quite sure what is going on there with Arsenal, and that is why the confusion has been created."
Arsenal fans booed the final whistle at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and could clearly be heard chanting for Emery to be sacked.
"I think the reason the Arsenal fans are chanting for Emery to go is because they were in this position with Arsene Wenger," said Carragher.
"It's slightly different - Arsene Wenger got a lot more time at the end because he was a legend and he had won so much - but I think Arsenal fans look back now and think they missed out on the two best managers in the Premier League and possibly the world, because they stuck too long with the manager.
"I think that's where the resentment and the aggression from the supporters comes from. They are looking at Tottenham moving a manager on, maybe Manchester United will be doing so shortly, or in the summer, and they don't want to miss out again.
"At this moment, I don't think Unai Emery is Champions League level. He's almost like Europa League level. A great career, what he's done, but he's not the level I think Arsenal need."
Those comments did not sit well with Neville, however.
"In Spain, his reputation is so high, it's incredible," he said.
"He's then gone to Paris Saint-Germain and alright, he didn't win the ultimate in terms of the Champions League, but to go there and work under that level of pressure, under the owners there who are demanding success like you wouldn't believe with the investment and the players that he is working with. He has been a brilliant coach."
Instead, Neville feels much of the responsibility for Arsenal's recent struggles lies with the players.
"That first goal they conceded at the weekend is just horrific," he said. "It's almost like it goes beyond coaching. There's nothing you can do with players who do those things.
"When you have a coach who has a great reputation, who has worked at the highest level and who is struggling as badly as he is, you can't just think that all of a sudden he's a terrible coach. There has to be other underlying reasons as to why it's not happening for him.
That first goal they conceded at the weekend is just horrific. It's almost like it goes beyond coaching. There's nothing you can do with players who do those things.
"The board at the moment, I would think, are massively split. They've seen what happened at Manchester United after a long reign of Sir Alex Ferguson, and they have had a long reign of Arsene Wenger.
"Manchester United are no further forward in terms of winning the league than they were eight years ago when they sacked David Moyes. Arsenal will have looked at that example.
"I would think that the board of Arsenal are in a quandary because they won't know what to do. My view is, when you're in that position as a board where you are split, and that's what we're hearing, my feeling would be that you don't make a decision.
"You let things breath, you let it play out, you make sure that you ultimately believe in what your original decision was, until a time whereby it becomes really difficult and a point whereby you're absolutely certain that what you're going to do is going to bring success and not add to the confusion that is already there."
Carragher, though, insisted Emery should be judged not on what he has achieved previously, but what he is currently doing at Arsenal.
"Arsenal fans don't care about what he's done. They care about what they are looking at and what they have seen at Arsenal for almost 18 months.
"You say he's a great coach, but I don't think a great coach allows his team to concede 20 or 25 shots per game consistently.
"A great coach must find a way to change that and stop that. I know what you're saying about David Luiz and Sokratis not being great players, but the easiest thing for anybody to coach is to set a team up defensively and stop the opposition. The tough thing is to go and make them create and open a game up.
"So that is a massive worry for me, that he can't stop that."