Unai Emery says he’s changed the mindsets of Arsenal players by stressing the importance of the work they do in training on a daily basis.
He’s also hinted that certain players are involved more this season because they’ve shown a willingness to accept these methods and improve from them, citing Granit Xhaka as an example of someone open to the ideas the Spaniard and his coaching staff have brought to the pitches at London Colney.
“I try to encourage the players to be more demanding,” he told the official Arsenal website.
“One of the first things we looked at with the players was the idea of training for training’s sake, training to compete and training to win. Those are three different steps and very often players do them subconsciously.
“We needed to suppress the idea of training for training’s sake, boost the focus on training to compete and – most of all – train to win.”
We know under Arsene Wenger that training was very regimented, and after so many years at the club with so many players there for significant periods of time, you can imagine how training for training’s sake might have been a bit of an issue.
Emery went on to talk about how he’s looking at the players response, and how that impacts is team selection.
“The players that play the most are the ones that seem to have the most scope for development,” he said, “but I’m convinced that they all have the ability to develop – not just because I’m saying it, it’s what any coach would say. That’s our idea.
“In the case of Xhaka, I knew him before. The first thing was to find his best position and characteristics, but he also wants to improve and that’s the first step – that the players want it.
“It’s not about training for training’s sake. It’s about training to win or to improve. Today, tomorrow and the next day.”