Emery told results must improve

LONDON • Unai Emery has been offered the backing of the Arsenal board for now, but has been warned that results must improve if he is to retain his job as the Gunners' manager.

The Spaniard has come under mounting pressure following a string of poor performances and a record of just two wins from their last 10 Premier League games.

A 2-0 loss at Leicester last Saturday saw the team fall eight points behind the Premier League's top four.

Emery's target had been to secure a return to the Champions League for the first time in four seasons next year, either via a top-four finish or by winning the Europa League.

However, the club's head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham insist the 48-year-old remains the right man for the job despite the poor run.

"We are as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season," read a precis of their comments at a pre-planned meeting on Monday, circulated by the club and issued in both men's names.

"We share the frustration with our fans, Unai, the players and all our staff as they are not at the level we want or expect.

"Things need to improve to meet our objectives for the season, and we firmly believe Unai is the right man for the job, together with the backroom team we have in place."

The backing comes with supporters unrest rising due to poor performances on the pitch and Emery's decision to make Granit Xhaka club captain earlier this season.

Xhaka was stripped of the armband in the wake of his foul-mouthed tirade towards his own fans after his substitution during the 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace on Oct 27.

The general consensus is that Emery, who replaced Arsene Wenger in May last year, must get a tune out of his players soon if the club's tone is not to change.

Successive matches after the international break against the Premier League's bottom two, Southampton and Norwich, offer scope for at least a short-term upturn.

"We never take our fantastic support for granted," Sanllehi and Venkatesham added in the club statement.

"We hope we can all stick together and get behind the team in this challenging period, as together we are stronger."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Emery told results must improve'. Print Edition | Subscribe