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Arsenal boss Unai Emery expects 'big test' against Manchester United

PUBLISHED: 15:10 23 January 2019

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has hailed injured Hector Bellerin. PA

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has hailed injured Hector Bellerin. PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking ahead of hosting Manchester United at the Emirates on Friday evening in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Gunners reporter Layth Yousif has been at London Colney to hear every word of his press conference. Read on for the full transcript of what Emery had to say.

Arsenal's Hector Bellerin fouls Chelsea's Eden Hazard leading to a penalty (pic Adam Davy/PA)Arsenal's Hector Bellerin fouls Chelsea's Eden Hazard leading to a penalty (pic Adam Davy/PA)

On what he’s expecting from Solskjaer’s United in the eagerly-awaited FA Cup clash…

Good afternoon. It’s a different team. It’s the same players but they’re playing with a big performance now. I was watching their last matches and and each player has a lot of confidence, with big performances, and now they are very dangerous. For us, it’s good because it’s a very big test for us in this competition. Manchester United and us have played 20 finals in the FA Cup, and we’ve won 13 and they’ve won 12. For this competition, it’s the best match to play. We are looking forward to playing this match on Friday because it’s at our stadium, the Emirates, in front of our supporters. We feel very well in front of them and we want to create a new atmosphere over 90 minutes on Friday, together with our supporters.

Arsenal's Hector Bellerin and Leicester City's Ben Chilwell battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.Arsenal's Hector Bellerin and Leicester City's Ben Chilwell battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

On Laurent Koscielny’s performances…

In the last matches, I think we are looking at a Koscielny with a big performance like he is used to producing. After these injuries, it’s also necessary to take matches, to take confidence again and then physically, for him to be well enough to play with this level of performance. I think in the last two matches, at West Ham and against Chelsea, I think this year and after his injuries, they are the performances we want.

On Emiliano Sala and his reaction…

The first reaction is that it’s terrible. It’s terrible. We are with his family and with also the supporters of Nantes and from Cardiff. If we have a small chance to find him alive, we are waiting for that news. But it’s terrible to know of this accident.

On what type of player he is…

He’s a striker who fights for each ball and fights with each action in the duels and a very humble player. But he’s a player who can make big performances and this year was giving the best performances in his career. That meant he signed for Cardiff and I want to play against him, if there is a small chance that we can see him alive.

On transfers…

The club continues to work on that. It’s difficult, you know, but I am working with our players and I think we need - and we can - sign some players to help after our injuries like Rob Holding, like Welbeck, like Hector Bellerin. But we can play with the players we have now and the same message is to you and every supporter, we only want to sign one or two players who can really help us with good performances. The club is working. They know our intentions, our possibilities for signing players that can help us, but they work and also with communication to us.

On Denis Suarez being left out of Barcelona’s squad…

I don’t want to speak about each player. I know the club is working with different players.

On which type of player he’s looking for…

The idea is firstly to find the quality and this quality can help us. We need, if he can come here, a winger for the right or left or some players also at centre back. But now, Dinos Mavropanos is coming back after his injuries and I think I can use him in the next matches.

On whether Sven Mislintat’s departure affects our January plans…

It’s a very short time that I worked with him but I worked well and pleasantly with him. I think he has big experience in Germany and here, and it’s one issue in the club and the club is working on that. I can only say to you that my experience with him is positive and is good.

Were there any disputes between the two of them?

No.

On Monchi…

Now, I can only say to you that he’s working in Roma. I worked very well with him in Sevilla for three and a half years, and very well too. My relationship with him is good but this work is for the club and the issue is the club’s responsibility. I can say to you only that he is a good person and a good professional.

On the importance of making quick appointments...

But maybe if you do this recruitment very quickly, maybe you can make a mistake. I think it’s better to do without that, being calm and also finding the best possible person to do this job like we want. I think the club is working on that. It’s not my issue. I can say the same: if the club decided to sign one Sporting Director, then I will agree with them.

On Koscielny saying that United have more freedom...

I don’t know.

On the importance of picking up a clean sheet against Chelsea...

Yes, it was very important. It’s our challenge in every match. But I think against West Ham we can work better defensively also and we conceded one goal but we still didn’t concede a lot of chances. The last two matches I think we have been better defensively. Against Manchester United against big and great players, we do the same work. We can be defensively strong and I think we need every player to defend, not only the defensive players, the attacking players can help us too. Defensively in the last match against Chelsea every player worked hard offensively and defensively with good spirit. We pressed against them and I think we can do the same on Friday and our objective on Friday is to keep another clean sheet against Manchester United.

On Hector and his determination...

Yes, we were sad and we are sad now after his injury. I think this year is very difficult for big injuries like Hector, Rob Holding and Welbeck. But football is like that. We need to treat these injuries like a normality in football, but we are very sad for that. Hector Bellerin is very mature and I think he received this injury like a football professional can take and he is already preparing to come back stronger than before.

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