Arsenal manager Unai Emery may still have work to do to ‘convince’ the Gunners squad of his methods after claims that some players struggle to remain engaged during lengthy meetings.
Emery was the surprise choice for the Gunners job after Arsene Wenger left the club last summer, thought to have impressed the board with a detailed presentation.
However, the Spaniard has struggled to translate that onto the pitch and Arsenal have had a mixed start to the season that has seen them win only one of their last four Premier League games.
Part of the problem appears to be a lack of understanding, leading to inconsistency in tactics and performances and a lack of identity. That could easily be routed in training ground issues – there have already been rumours about players being frustrated in training.
A new story from the Daily Mirror claims that Emery can come across as ‘distant’ at London Colney, with an apparent tendency to shut himself away in his office.
His enormous attention to detail is commendable, but the former Sevilla coach is seemingly yet to find a way to get at least some players to plug into his way of thinking.
Even communication is presented as a problem, with Emery’s command of English not the best and making it difficult for players to fully grasp what he is asking of them.
The Mirror cites one example of three separate meetings being held before one particular game that lasted close to two hours in total and required players to report for duty at 11:30 am.
It is said that Emery has actually reined in some of the longer training sessions from when he first arrived, but there is still a ‘big culture shift’ from the days of Wenger when most of this squad was used to much shorter drills as opposed to ‘exhaustive’ video analysis.
One of the ways Emery appeared to be having success on the training ground was revealed recently, with the coach tasking Arsenal’s Under-23 squad with impersonating opponents in training sessions that would specifically prepare the Gunners for the team they would be facing.
However, despite being popular with the players, that method didn’t really last.
The Mirror notes that Emery does have backing in the dressing room, with one un-named player said to be full of praise for ‘coaching, attention to detail and passion’. But it is implied that isn’t the universal viewpoint across the whole squad.