Arsenal’s Head of High Performance, Darren Burgess, says that Unai Emery is a workaholic who has made improving Arsenal’s defensive record one of his key areas of focus for the season ahead.
The Australian spoke in glowing terms about how things have changed under the Spaniard after he took over from Arsene Wenger, revealing that making the team organised at the back is something he’s been working on throughout pre-season.
In an interview with Fox Sports in Australia, Burgess said, “Most people recognised that our defence was poor last season we conceded a ridiculous number of goals around 50 or something which Arsenal hadn’t done in maybe 15 years so one thing he’s been working on unsurprisingly is making the team a bit more solid and better organised in that area.
“Obviously it remains to be seen how successful that is but that’s an area he’s focused on.
“He’s very particular on player positioning depending on where the ball is in certain areas of the pitch. His sessions are very intricate in that regard. Not better or worse to the previous way but certainly different.”
He was then asked about how things were different under Emery than under Wenger.
“Firstly, we’ve got a whole new coaching team considering Unai has brought in five new assistants all with different skill sets but also in the medical and performance departments as well,” he said.
“So yeah it’s been a real summer of change and very different with differing philosophies on training and how to work and how to prepare.
“It’s been a real challenge to learn a new way of doing things especially for me having just learnt Arsene’s way and now being in the process of learning Unai’s way of doing things. A lot of people have commented on how different it feels, even visually around the place there’s been change.
“Like Arsene he’s a workaholic, he’s always watching film of training or the opposition. He’s never not analysing even in the lead up to friendly games.
“He’s got a very dry sense of humour and is unbelievably passionate and the training sessions are extremely up tempo and full of instructions and hands on. He’s passionate about playing football a certain way and he really wants Arsenal to play that way.
“It’s been great getting to know him.”
With the Gunners set to face Man City on Sunday, let’s hope some of that defensive work pays dividends.
Thanks to @TimSmith85 for the heads up.