London (AFP) – Under-fire Arsenal manager Unai Emery hopes a win in Thursday’s Europa League match over Eintracht Frankfurt will begin the process of reconnecting with the Gunners’ disgruntled supporters.
The 48-year-old Spaniard has come under increasing pressure in his second season in charge — taking over after Arsene Wenger’s nearly three decade reign came to an end — with the team on a run of six games without a win.
Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with struggling Southampton on Saturday left them eight points adrift of the top four and 19 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.
On Sunday, a number of Arsenal fan groups called for “urgent action” over the “state of things” at the club.
Things have reached such a stage that negative comments online forced the cancellation of Emery’s appearance this Friday at a masterclass series at the University Campus of Football Business in London.
“As a coach each moment in my career is difficult,” said Emery at his eve of match press conference.
“This is a very good but very hard job.
“My job is to prepare for the match, to show the best performance in front of our supporters.
“My focus is only today and tomorrow, to do all the things that we have worked on here at the training ground.
“We know our supporters were disappointed by the draw against Southampton, but we have the perfect chance to reconnect with our supporters.”
– Draw sufficient –
Arsenal can assure themselves of a place in the knockout stages with a draw being sufficient as they are four points ahead of Standard Liege and their German opponents with two games to play.
Victory may buy Emery a little time but it appears that the players are getting restless.
Lack of Champions League action and the danger of missing out again this time round has provoked Gabonese striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang into aborting talks over a new contract according to The Times.
Aubameyang’s contract runs out at the end of next season — he is presently on £200,000 ($258,000) a week.
Aubameyang’s commitment may be on the wane but others remain determined to turn things round on the pitch.
“We are working our socks off,” said German defender Skohdran Mustafi.
“It is a day to day job to keep fighting, to keep improving,” said German defender Skohdran Mustafi.
“In the last few games we have not won but we have been working hard on the training ground to improve. We are going back to the basics to sort things out.
“We know that we are playing for a big club and we have to go out and fight every match. But we are also fighting for each other, we try to put on the pitch what we are doing every day on the training ground.”
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