Arsenal manager Unai Emery has attempted a sly dig at his legendary predecessor, Arsene Wenger. Wenger enjoyed numerous years of trophy laden success before losing his duopoly with Sir Alex Ferguson to the emergence of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea in 2004. Wenger endured years of trophy dearth and a top 4 finish became a regular source of solace to Arsenal fans at that period.
Emery has refused to dwell on such mediocrity. The former Sevillla and PSG manager will rather work on creating a better a better atmosphere at the North London club.
The Gunners moved into third in the Premier League table, two points above Tottenham, after a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on Monday.
Arsenal are in a strong position to finish in the top four, but the manager says it is not the most pressing issue on his mind.
Unai Emery says his primary goal is to “create a big atmosphere” rather than worry about securing Champions League qualification with Arsenal.
It was their 10th home win in a row in the league, a run that has included victories over closest rivals Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea, and puts them in a strong position to seal a top-four spot.
Emery insists it will still be tough to seal a return to Europe’s elite club competition, but he is more concerned about establishing a positive rapport with the Emirates crowd than focusing on their league position.
“Our big challenge was to win again and it’s not easy to win games consecutively,” the Arsenal boss told a news conference.
“We showed we can win with different players and formations and the players who came on, their impact was good.”
“We want to create that good team spirit. Our target is very difficult and step by step we are getting there. We were lazy after [the first] two games this season, and now we are third, but there are still very difficult games ahead.”
“The next challenge away to Everton is a big one as we need to convince people we can also be consistent away.
“We were playing key matches against Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea. We had this opportunity and won this opportunity because we were being consistent, winning more matches to be closer to them.”
“Now, I know it’s going to be difficult [to stay in the top four]. I’m not thinking about that. My first target is to create a big atmosphere. We’re creating it little by little.”
Aaron Ramsey, who was made captain for the game, scored Arsenal’s first goal and was a standout performer until he went off in the second half with what Emery said was cramp.
Emery hopes the midfielder continues to feel happy and committed to ending the season strongly, before he completes his move to Juventus for next season.
“It’s clear, there’s not more to speak about on that,” he said. “The most important thing is he is happy, working to help us and taking a performance to be strong in each match.”
“I am happy with him. I want to continue with the same spirit, individually and collectively with all the players. I can only say to him to continue. I hope he will be okay for Sunday [against Everton].”