Unai Emery admits his side continue to lack a balance between attack and defence but he insists he continues to enjoy his day-to-day work with the players, and appreciates the support of the club hierarchy, even though he’s under considerable pressure to reverse Arsenal’s slide into mediocrity.
In the last week a range of candidates from ex-Gunner Mikel Arteta to Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo have been tipped to succeed the Spaniard at the Emirates, but the Spaniard, facing the media ahead of our Europa League clash with Frankfurt, was determined to cut an optimistic character.
“The club is supporting me,” he said on Wednesday. “I feel the club is responsible in that area. I really appreciate that a lot.
“I feel strong with that support and I know my responsibility is to come back and change the situation.”
While few people expect him to see out the year at Arsenal, Emery attempted to dissect where he thinks things are going wrong.
“We need to recover the confidence,” he said, “I need to achieve good balance, and we need to be more compact.
“I am feeling responsible for my work. I know we need to improve. When I lost, I am not feeling well.
“I am feeling that responsibility to come back, the responsibility to analyse, and to work and improve to achieve our performance.
“In my work, I enjoy it. Every day I enjoy it. The players and the preparation I enjoy because I love that work.”
Asked why his side are conceding so many goals, he went on: “Really, the one thing we need is to be more compact. We are conceding more goals than we wanted and the opposition are creating more chances than we wanted. That is the first tactical issue I want to change.
“I am trying some different tactical decisions, using our players in the best possible positions for them.
“And, at the moment, we haven’t achieved that balance to be strong. I don’t think it’s the system.”
In quotes reported earlier today, Emery stressed that his side need the supporters to help the players if they are to recover their confidence.
“As a coach, each moment in my career is difficult,” he reflect.
“It’s a very good job, but it’s very hard. When you are winning, you feel the support from everybody, but when you’re not winning like in the last matches, you have some doubters.
“Really, I believe in us, the players, the group. I know I am going to work very hard to come back with this performance and take the confidence we need now. Each match is a very good opportunity. The good and bad moments come and go, but the most important thing for me is to show my work and our capacity.
“Each match is a good opportunity to do that. Most importantly it’s to connect with the supporters. They need to back and help the players tomorrow in each moment. Our confidence depends on how we can feel in our stadium with our supporters.
“The teams are coming here and playing fearless against us. This is the first thing we need to change. We need to change it and we need to be strong and we need to be together. I know we need to show our supporters our capacity and our skills.
“I know we’re not really showing that skill and performance 100 per cent with the players, but tomorrow we have a very good opportunity and we are going to try to change that.
“We were speaking about how we can improve and how we can change that and the first way of changing that is by being more compact.
“Then being confident we can show our skills, our quality. In the last matches, we’ve had tactical issues and we need to do better.”
A defeat for Arsenal and Emery may not necessarily spell the end of the Spaniard’s 18 months in charge, however, were anything less than a win tomorrow be followed by more dropped points in the Premier League against Norwich on Sunday, it feels quite likely that the axe will fall.