Emery urges fans to trust in ‘process’

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Europa League - By Sam Dean

Unai Emery has launched the first im­pas­sioned de­fence of his Arse­nal ten­ure, ac­cus­ing his crit­ics of hav­ing short mem­o­ries and in­sist­ing that he has made the team more com­pet­i­tive since his ar­rival.

Emery was in an­i­mated mood fol­low­ing Arse­nal’s de­feat by Sh­effield United on Mon­day as he called for pa­tience from fans after a sum­mer of up­heaval in which 11 se­nior play­ers de­parted. The Spa­niard also re­it­er­ated his be­lief that record sign­ing Ni­co­las Pepe needs time to hit top form, cit­ing the ex­am­ple of Fabinho at Liv­er­pool – a player Emery wanted to sign for Arse­nal – as proof that a bed­ding-in process is re­quired in the Premier League.

Emery also said the de­vel­op­ment of Mat­teo Guen­douzi this sea­son was ev­i­dence of the faith Arse­nal were plac­ing in young play­ers.

“Some­times we for­get the mem­ory and we need to re­mem­ber,” Emery said. “When I ar­rived, this team needed to be more com­pet­i­tive. The cre­ativ­ity was more or less good, but be­ing com­pet­i­tive was worse. I think last year I started to im­prove be­ing com­pet­i­tive, also play­ing with cre­ativ­ity. This year we are in that process, but also with pa­tience be­cause our strat­egy as a club is [us­ing] some new play­ers and young play­ers.

“I want to show our sup­port­ers our en­ergy and our in­ten­sity be­cause I think that is some­thing we im­proved last year and this year.

“There are a lot of sup­port­ers with dif­fer­ent opin­ions. Some want more cre­ativ­ity, some want maybe more in­ten­sity, more en­ergy. I want both. My way is both.”

Arse­nal face Por­tuguese side Vi­to­ria in the Europa League tonight hav­ing scored 12 goals and con­ceded none in cup com­pe­ti­tions. Emery said the en­ergy and their press­ing in these matches was the blue­print for the first team.

Pepe’s in­con­sis­tency fol­low­ing his £72 mil­lion move from Lille con­tin­ued with a mixed per­for­mance against Sh­effield United, when the striker missed a cru­cial chance when the game was goal­less. “Pepe needs time to adapt,” Emery said. “For ex­am­ple, in France I loved Fabinho a lot. He was at Monaco and I wanted to sign him for Paris St-ger­main.

“When I ar­rived here, his name was on the ta­ble to sign him, but he signed for Liv­er­pool. The first six months he did not play. It was adap­ta­tion. But now he is amaz­ing and I want the same with [Dani] Ce­bal­los, with Pepe.”

Emery pointed to his use of play­ers such as Guen­douzi, Joe Wil­lock and Bukayo Saka as proof of his com­mit­ment to youth at Arse­nal, say­ing these young­sters also re­quired pa­tience from sup­port­ers.

“We are in a process, we changed play­ers and we are giv­ing young play­ers chances,” Emery said. “Last year Mat­teo ar­rived from the sec­ond di­vi­sion in France, but we used him all sea­son. Not on the bench, not in the un­der-23s, but play­ing. This year the sup­port­ers are happy with him. It’s be­cause last year we worked and used him on the pitch, not on the bench.”

Arse­nal (prob­a­ble 4-3-3): Martinez; Bel­lerin, Mustafi, Hold­ing, Tier­ney; Ce­bal­los, Tor­reira, Wil­lock; Smith Rowe, La­cazette, Martinelli.

Vi­to­ria SC (prob­a­ble 4-3-3): Silva; Sacko, Tap­soba, Hen­rique, Hanin; Poha, Agu, Evan­ge­lista; Ed­wards, Bona­tini, David­son.

Ref­eree Ser­dar Gozubuyuk (Hol­land).

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