Unai Emery has come under criticism from Robin van Persie (Picture: AMA/Getty Images)

Robin van Persie has heavily criticised Arsenal manager Unai Emery, saying he does not connect with his players and cannot give them clear instructions.

The Dutchman was talking after Arsenal narrowly beat Vitoria Guimaraes 3-2 in the Europa League, coming from behind thanks to two Nicolas Pepe free-kicks to win in injury time.

That kept up the Gunners’ perfect record in Europe so far this season, but their Premier League form has been patchy, losing at Sheffield United last time out.

Van Persie was asked if he feels Arsenal have improved since Emery took over from Arsene Wenger last summer and his response was blunt.

‘I don’t think so,’ the former striker told BT Sport. ‘I don’t think that Emery really connects with his players.

‘I think they are still weak on set pieces, which was a problem at my time, to be honest. But everyone should feel responsible. Arsenal lose 12 to 15 points per season by set pieces. That should stop.

‘If you want to play for the first couple of places you have to sort it out, you have to find a way.’

Van Persie expanded on his point, suggesting that Emery is not a ‘strong coach’ which leads to players not putting in enough effort in games.

‘As a player you want to have that feeling, you have to sprint back, now I see a couple of players jogging back, and there’s danger there,’ said Van Persie. ‘I don’t feel that in the team.

‘If you have a very strong coach, and you are in midfield and you see danger somewhere, you sprint for your life, because you know if you don’t do it you get punished.’

Van Persie had a good relationship with Arsene Wenger at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

The Dutchman’s final criticism came for Emery’s lack of clarity, citing a training ground video which was published, showing the Spaniard shouting instructions at his players.

Van Persie admitted that he couldn’t understand what the Arsenal boss was saying, and that compared to other great managers he has played under, this will leave Emery falling short.

‘I’ve had [Arsene] Wenger, Louis van Gaal, [Alex] Ferguson, I had so many coaches, and their main quality was to be clear,’ said the 36-year-old.

‘If I’m really honest…someone sent me a video last week of him [Emery] trying to explain something, and I couldn’t really figure out if he was saying, ‘calm, calm’ or ‘come, come.’

‘That is very important, you have to be clear, you have to be the leader and the leader needs to be clear towards his players.’

The late Pepe double has eased pressure on Emery for now, but failure to beat Crystal Palace in the Premier League this weekend would raise questions over his leadership again.

BT Sport provided the statistic on the broadcast that Arsenal’s last 47 games under Wenger produced 26 wins, while the first 47 under Emery produced 25 wins.

If results continue to be inconsistent then the question of whether they are an improving side will be difficult to answer for the Spaniard.

MORE: Nicolas Pepe saves the day for Arsenal with two stunning free-kicks in late win over Vitoria Guimaraes

MORE: Ainsley Maitland-Niles is ‘wasting his talent,’ says Arsenal legend Martin Keown





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