Unai Emery’s love of video analysis has been well reported during his time as Arsenal head coach, but it seems the Spaniard is just as mad about books.
Following the release of his own authorised biography, Emery recently spoke with the book's author Romain Molina, and revealed how he he hopes to inspire the current crop of Arsenal players to read more.
He also elaborated on how reading has helped and inspired him throughout his managerial career.
“My doubts and fears helped me to learn how to manage the pressures of being a manager and my work with the players,” Emery told Molina (via the Evening Standard).
“I’ve also relied a great deal on books about self-confidence and personal development. A lot of what I’ve read has allowed me to apply these ideas to the players, but to give you a full answer, I was already interested in studies about being a manager while I was still playing.
“Not many players study about training when they haven’t yet retired from the game. I got my diplomas, and when I became a coach I read a lot more about psychology, group management, pedagogy, the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept, leadership, in order to overcome all the weaknesses I had as a player and to be able to put ideas into practice with my future players."
The Spaniard further elaborated on how Arsenal aren't the first side he has pressed his love of books upon: “In my first seasons at Valencia I bought two books for each player. However, there were thirty people in the squad, and I knew that some of them couldn’t give a damn, they weren’t really committed to the team.
So, I told the players; 'I’ve bought two books for each of you. Any of you who want them can come and get them in my office.' Immediately afterwards, several players turned up: 'Boss, I’d like the books you thought of for me.' Not all the squad came, but a lot of them did.
“That was a moment that made me really happy. To see them in my office, asking for books, talking about what they had read…In all my teams, players have asked me to recommend books, especially [Juan] Mata, but he’s a special case.
“When I was at Seville, I recommended Victor Valdes’ biography to Sergio Rico because it’s a story about suffering, about the sacrifice needed to become a great goalkeeper. Sergio had his doubts at the start of his career, so I talked to him a lot, advising him not to speak to the press and to come with me at the end of the day to do extra training. At the end of the season, when we won the Europa League, his father wanted to come and see me to thank me. That was perhaps my greatest satisfaction.”
Emery then listed a handful fellow manger's stories of which he has, or at least intends to, read: "There are lots of other authors I appreciate, I read a bit of everything, including books about football. At the moment I’m reading about [Pep] Guardiola and I’ve also got the one on [Diego] Simeone, but I haven’t started that yet.
"I also have [Marcelo]Bielsa’s biography, and I really liked the first books that came out about [Jose] Mourinho and football tactics in Portugal!"
Emery has started well at Arsenal, perhaps all the reading is paying off. He'll certainly hope so with his first North London derby on the horizon - the clash against Tottenham is to be played this Sunday.