Unai Emery has revealed that he was eager for Aaron Ramsey to rest Aaron Ramsey before he got injured against Napoli but the Welshman insisted that he was fit enough to cope with Arsenal’s busy schedule.
The midfielder came on at half time against Everton on 7 April, played a full 90 minutes in the 2-0 home win over Napoli four days later and then completed 68 minutes in the win at Watford before starting again in the Stadio San Paolo in Naples.
The game in Italy proved to be one too far for Ramsey’s body which sustained a hamstring problem that ended his season.
Speaking to the Evening Standard on the eve of the Europa League final, Emery admits he’s frustrated that he didn’t better manage the Juventus-bound player.
“Now we can speak about that,” he said. “Sometimes you cannot play every match with the same players because some players can be a risk for injury. When he was playing against Napoli, he was injured.
“The Monday before we played Watford, we won 1-0, and I prefer he didn’t play. I spoke with him. “Aaron, we are playing a lot of matches now. I think you need to rest one match.’
“[He said]: ‘No, no, coach, I want to play, I want to play, I want to play, I want play, it is very important for me, it is very important for the team, I want to play.’
“‘OK. Play.’ And we won. After, Napoli. ‘You OK?’ “Coach, I can, I can, I can.’ And this is the process with him I had.”
Emery also reflected on the journey he’s been on with Ramsey this season. When the Spaniard moved to the Emirates the club were doing their best to retain the 28-year-old’s services. Not long after, Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham pulled the plug on negotiations leaving the player to leave on a free.
It appears that during that period of uncertainty, the boss didn’t feel that he was getting the best from Ramsey, hence why the midfielder spent a lot of time on the bench. When Juventus sorted him out, it all changed.
“Really, his process this year is a strange process, a strange way,” said Emery. “At the beginning, he started the pre-season very excited and well. I said: “Whoa, looking at him close…whoa.”
“But after, in his mind, he was thinking “my future, my future, my future” and something I said to him and in the press conference [was] he was a little distracted. Really, I was thinking his performance is not with the balance and regularity.”
While Ramsey won’t be part of the squad for tomorrow night’s final, Emery has said that he could be tempted to channel the emotion surrounding the imminent departure of the long-standing Gunner, as well as those of Petr Cech and Danny Welbeck, in his pre-game build-up.
“It will be a good opportunity, a good idea,” he told the Mirror. “For the final, we want to do something important with some players: Petr Cech [who is retiring this summer]. Danny Welbeck [leaving at the end of his contract]. Aaron also. We want to touch something emotional for this match.”