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Emery expecting tough Southampton test as Arsenal boss talks Xhaka and getting the club's backing

PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:00 21 November 2019

Arsenal manager Unai Emery during the training session at London Colney, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PA

Arsenal manager Unai Emery during the training session at London Colney, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal boss Unai Emery is expecting a tough test when Southampton visit the Emirates on Saturday. Read to see what he had to say on the game, Granit Xhaka, receiving the club's backing and more.

On the squad...

"Good afternoon. Today, we were here with every player but some players for example, Pepe, arrived late because his travel was long. He didn't train today with the group, but he trained after our work, inside. Tomorrow I think he's going to be ready for Saturday. Some players - Kolasinac, Bukayo and Rob Holding - didn't train this morning because they have some small, small injuries. Not important injuries. Maybe tomorrow they could be ready for training and to be ready for Saturday, but we are going to wait until tomorrow morning and the last training."

On Southampton being better than their position suggests...

"Yes, every team is a very difficult team in the Premier League. I think they also need the points because they are now not in the best moment for them. But they are playing, I think, better away than in the matches at home. They are very competitive also, away. They lost 2-1 at the last moment against Manchester City, they won in Sheffield and also, they lost in the last moment against Tottenham. I think they are also going to very, very motivated to achieve that three points against us, but I think also we need to impose, to work, to show our game plan and our intensity against them in the 90 minutes on Saturday."

On getting backing from the Raul and Vinai…

"Really I am not taking my time to respond in myself for those issues. I am with a focus on preparing the matches and it is very important how we can improve because we have a lot of work to do. That is really my only focus."

On whether he is confident of turning it around…

"I am optimistic and also I know we need to keep better performances with the team, individually and collectively. I know how we can achieve that. First, connecting with our supporters in Emirates, but then also not only thinking about the results. We need to play better and control the game better in 90 minutes. We are winning and drawing, not losing at home, but really we are not convincing the people, the supporters. It's our first objective. I spoke to the players, our success is going to be starting by being comfortable, strong and confident at home. We want to deserve to win each match."

On Xhaka…

"He is coming back better in his mind, his mindset is better to help us and to be closer to playing when we need him. I spoke to him this morning and we had a very good conversation. He trained very well before the international break and he trained very well this morning. My objectives don't change from when I spoke to you before. My objective is going to be his comeback to help us and convince every supporter of his commitment with us and his performances will be better and they will be proud of him in the short or long future with us. That is my objective, and what I am working towards."

On how the conversation with Xhaka went…

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"He is feeling better and also feeling that his team is Arsenal now. He wants to come back with confidence with the supporters, and we are going to decide. But I think little by little we can help him come back and connect with us and our supporters."

On whether Xhaka will play on Saturday…

"We are going to decide tomorrow but I want to do that comeback, give him confidence and make him comfortable. And when we can connect with our supporters with a good moment and a good performance and being strong with them."

On how he trained…

"He trained with us. He was feeling very well in the training session."

On whether it is a must win…

"Last year we lose the first two matches and we spoke how we can progress. This year we won the first two matches and little by little we lost points and position in the table. Ow for me and the players we are going to start again to achieve our injective, thinking how we can reduce the difference with the top four. It is nine points, but last year we had some experience in reducing the gap against important teams and now that's our objective. We know it won't take a short time but that's our goal and our challenge now is to reduce the distance, little by little, and starting on Saturday and that match is very important. Getting three points is 100% our focus but above all we need to connect with our supporters while playing better and being in control of the games in 90 minutes with our personality and we need to do that at Emirates on Saturday, hopefully. I've been speaking with the players to change that and during the week it was very good in how they responded in the training sessions to achieve and start again a new situation for us."

On the what he makes of Saints...

"My focus is to think on the best performance and be prepared to battle them with a. Good moment in each match. Against Man City they played a very good match and we are going to give the best performance with Redmond, Ings and their strong midfielder so we will have to work and battle their best team."

On whether it is a dangerous game…

"First is the respect to them and after is to keep the confidence in our capacity. That is improving and doing one step more, playing with our characteristic and improving and being efficient individually and collectively. That is our focus and our challenge. Above all it is about our performance and our connection with the supporter.s I know there can be some doubt in this moment, but I am convinced on Saturday it will change and that match is very important. Getting three points is 100% our focus but above all we need to connect with our supporters while playing better and being in control of the games in 90 minutes with our personality and we need to do that at Emirates on Saturday, hopefully. I've been speaking with the players to change that and during the week it was very good in how they responded in the training sessions to achieve and start again a new situation for us."

On only winning 17 points from 12 games...

"Football is giving us that moment in the table, we are fifth, we are more points off the top four, but we are going to start again how we can reduce it. That is our challenge. We have quality, good structure in our set up in the next matches thinking we can be positive and be efficient and we are going to work to achieve that."

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