Paris (AFP) – Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery says he didn’t get enough time to transform the London giants who were on a “downward slope” when he was appointed, France Football magazine reported on Monday.
Emery had 18 months at the Emirates Stadium after a two-year stint with Paris Saint-Germain and a spell which included winning three straight Europa League titles with Sevilla.
“Arsenal had been on a downward slope for two years when I joined them,” Emery told France Football.
“We stopped the rot and took the club to the Europa League final (where they lost 4-1 to Chelsea) and took fifth place in the Premier League,” Emery said in defence of his tenure that ended in November 2019 after a run of seven games in all competitions without a win.
“That season we had qualification for the Champions League in our own hands but it all went wrong.
“We lost our four captains (Laurent) Koscielny, (Petr) Cech, (Aaron) Ramsey and (Nacho) Monreal and we really missed them.
“Some of our top players didn’t have the right attitude and were asking for more than they were giving.”
“I needed more time to manage to transform this club, into the new Arsenal I had been hoping to build,” added Emery, currently without a club.
Emery also claimed he could have succeeded at PSG had VAR been in place when his charges were Champions League last-16 victims to Barcelona.
“In the home leg we did really well with top-level football (winning 4-0). But in the return we were eliminated because VAR did not yet exist. We lost (6-1) because of refereeing decisions and this was clear.”