Under-fire Arsenal boss Unai Emery has insisted that he has the full backing of the club’s board despite a poor run of form leading to calls for the three-time Europa League-winning manager to be sacked.
The Gunners have found themselves in the spotlight once again for inconsistent performances – the north London club now having gone four matches without a win – and questions are being asked of Emery’s tactical decisions as well as personnel chosen for match-day squads.
Indeed, Mesut Ozil, widely recognised as Arsenal’s most creative player, found himself frozen out of the first-team picture for a long stretch under Emery’s stewardship, while rafts of changes to formations and starting XIs have further raised eyebrows.
In addition, former skipper Granit Xhaka’s recent expletive-laden outburst at his own supporters caused further fan concerns due to the manager having allowed the team to select their captain in a secret ballot, rather than appoint his own chosen leader.
Emery, however, claims that those at the top of Arsenal’s hierarchy are pleased with his work at the Emirates so far, and that he feels confident the Gunners’ support base will soon be watching a side to savour.
“When I speak to the club, they always transmit calm to me, which I try to transmit to the players and to the fans, knowing that we have an important objective this season,” the 48-year-old explained to Sky Sports.
“I have said many times that I don’t feel pressure. Pressure is just what people talk about. I am demanding of myself and I feel responsible. I prepare for games with those things in mind. Whether we win or whether we lose, I prepare in the same way.
“People have opinions and that’s logical. We are privileged in our position at Arsenal that we have a lot of fans who support us and also methods of communication that put us in contact with them.
“When you win, they are happy and they applaud. When you lose, they protest. But this happens at all the teams I have been at.”
But while Emery may feel secure in his role at Arsenal, he did admit that the club are not where he wants them to be at present, adding of the Gunners’ recent slump: “Last year we had a good season, reaching the final of the Europa League and getting to the final weeks of the season with a chance of finishing in the top four – which is the objective, to get into the Champions League.
“This year is another step. We are there in the Europa League, but in the Premier League we are a few points behind where we want to be.
“Of course, we have to make progress. It’s our job to rebuild our confidence, to get the wins we need to make the fans happy and to see the Arsenal that we all want. I am confident that we will do that.”
Emery will have the chance to change his team’s fortunes as Arsenal travel to Leicester for the late kick-off on Saturday.