EPL

Arteta is prepared to make that next jump - Emery backs his successor to be a hit at Arsenal.

By Sports Desk December 20, 2019

Unai Emery believes his Arsenal replacement Mikel Arteta will make a successful transition into life as a head coach.

Arsenal confirmed Arteta had signed a three-and-a-half-year deal on Friday, three weeks after sacking Emery and temporarily replacing him with Freddie Ljungberg.

Arteta has worked as assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City since July 2016, but Emery is confident the ex-Gunners captain can become a notable boss in his own right.

"He really is prepared to make that next jump," he told BBC Sport. "He has been at Arsenal before, he's been in the Premier League and he has been working with Pep Guardiola. 

"I do believe this is a good decision and I would also like it to be a good decision."

Emery was dismissed by Arsenal on November 29 following a seven-game winless run in all competitions.

The former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain boss lasted 18 months at Emirates Stadium and, while accepting the club's decision, he felt he could have turned things around if given more time.

"We had to win to regain our emotional equilibrium, to get rid of that frustration and we couldn't," he said.

"What is true is the social mass of Arsenal, which is very big, couldn't see it, couldn't connect with what was happening and it is true that in this situation, as happens in every country and with every team, the coach finds himself targeted.

"I spoke to the players three or four weeks before the process began to tell them that things were not going well and that I couldn't see the team I pictured on the field of play; I couldn't identify what I was looking for."

He added: "We looked for solutions but results still didn't come. The club made its decision and that was passed on to me by Raul Sanllehi [Arsenal's head of football] with much regret because he also felt his share of the responsibility and we were very united.

"But the situation had become unsustainable as regards to the protests of a section of the fans. That said, I believe there was another important section who believed we could have been shown more patience and carried on with the project.

"I think we could have turned things around but I also understand those at the top have to take decisions and take responsibility."

Emery was linked with an immediate return to the Premier League at Everton and the 48-year-old revealed he turned down the chance to discuss a move to Goodison Park, where Carlo Ancelotti is expected to be installed.

"Now is the time to go home. To be with my people, to analyse a lot," he said. "I'll spend the next few days close to my family, with my coaches. And I've started doing a lot of soul searching. 

"We all spoke to each other and questioned what we got wrong. There’s been interest from teams but I want to just spend some quiet time and choose the right project. Different teams have expressed interest.

"To be honest I want to thank them [Everton and others] for wanting me and I told them that I wanted to be quiet, that I need to take a little bit of air. And to choose well the next project after many years of not stopping."

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