Football

Unai Emery takes swipe at Arsenal board and claims Aaron Ramsey’s injury led to his departure


The Spaniard feels there were plenty of issues beyond his control that led to his exit (Picture: Getty)

Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery says he felt ‘alone’ and exposed by the club’s hierarchy before his dismissal and insists things could have been different but for Aaron Ramsey’s injury.

The Spaniard was sacked at the very end of November after just 18 months in charge at the Emirates, with the club closer to the relegation zone than the top four when he was given his marching orders.

Emery had enjoyed a promising first season, reaching the Europa League final and narrowly missing out on the top four, but things quickly unravelled.

Injury brought a premature end to Ramsey’s time at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

He feels Ramsey’s hamstring injury – which ruled him out of the final four league matches, of which Arsenal only won one – was crucial to his ultimate sacking and felt the Welshman’s move to Juventus left a massive hole in the squad.

“[At first] things went magnificently; there was a good spirit in the dressing room,’ Emery told The Guardian.

‘‘Ramsey’s injury, when he was at his best, had a big influence: he conveyed positivity, so much energy. And playing a lot of important games in April without him, we needed 100% commitment from every player.’

He continued: ‘But some players had a mentality that says one day “yes”, one day “no”, when in football it has to be “yes, yes, yes” every day. We lacked that little extra to get through a lot of games in those final weeks. If your application and commitment falls below 100%, you can lose, and that’s what happened.’

Emery continued: ‘I told the people running the club. And then there were decisions that didn’t go well. Mistakes were made, and as coach I take responsibility for mine. For example, all four captains left.

‘Ramsey had decided he was going. It would have been better for the team if he had continued, and for me. Petr Cech was retiring; fine. But I wanted Laurent Koscielny to stay, Nacho Monreal to stay. All those leaders went, which makes the dressing room something else.’

Emery wanted more support from Arsenal chiefs Raul Sanllehi, left, and Edu, right (Picture: Getty)

Emery faced enormous criticism for Arsenal’s poor end to the 2018/19 season and that continued the following campaign, and he feels he was not given the public backing he needed.

He added: ‘At every club, I’ve been protected: Lorca, Almería, Valencia, PSG. At Sevilla I had Monchi. At PSG Nasser al-Khelaifi protected me in the dressing room and publicly.

‘At Arsenal they weren’t able to, maybe because they came from Arsene Wenger, who did everything. They’d say: “We’re with you” but in front of fans and the dressing room they couldn’t protect me. Truth is, I felt alone.’

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