Arsenal manager Unai Emery has told Marca that he believes the club were declining when he took over
Unai Emery became Arsenal’s manager in May after Arsène Wenger ended his 22-year reign, inheriting a team that finished sixth in the Premier League last season, and said his predecessor’s focus on attacking football had led to defensive weaknesses.
“Before Wenger arrived, Arsenal celebrated the 1-0 wins and were based on defensive solidity,” he said.
“With Arsene, they became an attacking team, with players who were good on the ball, and the perfect combination came with The Invincibles [when an unbeaten Arsenal won the 2003-04 Premier League].
“But with time, you can only take care of technique and attacking freedom, losing your defensive structure. What I want to do is unite the two and become more competitive. Arsenal were falling. We had to stop that and start to lift them.
“These days, it’s very difficult for a coach to last 22 years. The chairs had to be moved in all sectors of the club. Not because of previous negligence, but to motivate everyone again — to shake it up, to sweep things under the carpet, to open the windows, all positive things.”
The coach added that he had not yet spoken to Wenger about the squad but stressed that it was important to start from scratch when implementing his own ideas.
“I ran into him once and not many more times,” he said. “I respect him a lot but, no matter how much information he gave me, I had to change things.
“I told the players: ‘We are starting at ground zero.’ Even now, four months later, I still say we are just at the beginning.”