Soccer

Unai Emery pinpoints the ‘only’ problem he had at Arsenal before being sacked

Unai Emery has insisted that the language barrier did not play a part in his sacking as Arsenal boss, believing that the results ultimately sealed his fate.

The Spanish coach joined the Gunners in the summer of 2018, succeeding the legendary Arsene Wenger, and initially impressed at the Emirates.

But his second season was plagued by problems on and off the pitch and he was eventually sacked in November 2019, following a defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.

Emery, who was replaced by Mikel Arteta, has since returned to Spain as manager of Villarreal where he has got them competing for a Champions League spot.

And, now the dust has settled, the former Gunners manager can look back on his spell in north London without any regrets.

He also insisted that his lack of English did not prove decisive in the club's decision to sack him.

Speaking to Football London, he said: “The problem in Arsenal the second year was only the results, not the language. I could speak English and communicate in my press conferences, with the players.

"The message was not perfect but it was good and little by little I was progressing. If I continued at Arsenal I would have got better, of course.

“I respected the likes of John Toshack and Howard Kendall when they came to Spain. They tried to learn Spanish and didn’t speak particularly good but the communication was enough.

“I think in England there are people who respect me rather than speaking about my English, but my English wasn’t the problem in London or communicating with the players or media.”

Emery also insisted that he has learnt from his experience, despite enduring a difficult time in the Premier League.

He added: “For me it’s not negative, it was a positive experience and after I left the club the first month was not easy for me because I was running out of things [to do] but now I am very grateful to the owners, the club, the supporters, the players, the workers in Colney.

"I now only remember the very good things there and the first year for me was a very good performance for us.

“I worked well with Mr Kroenke, Raul [Sanllehi], [Ivan] Gazidis during the first months there.

"The results towards the end were the main problem but for me it was a positive experience and I’m grateful to Arsenal for the opportunity.

“This is football. Now I want the best for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, the supporters and everyone at the club.”

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