Emery after first win at Arsenal: “It is clear we need to improve”

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Unai Emery is off and running as Arsenal boss with his first win as a Premier League manager at home against West Ham on Saturday.

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But that doesn’t mean he happy with everything his Arsenal side did in their 3-1 victory. Far from it.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Emery once again focused on the lack of balance in his team as West Ham took the lead and threatened constantly on the break throughout the London derby.

“The three points were very important. Today I saw good things, but also things for improve,” Emery said. “It was very important for our supporters. After 1-0, the team was improving, the players, the substitute players made the difference. It was for that I am happy but there are things we must improve. More transition. For the second half we were speaking in the dressing room and to help more inside with two midfielders. We need the balance, in the first half we suffered more than we want.

“It is clear for us we need to improve. Also, the win gives the confidence for the players. The first half, we needed calm. The players, they show every supporter we want and can do the second half going forward with balance, and win the match. We need this control with possession with the ball and also going forward with balance, which is important.”

The Gunners created plenty of chances going forward and substitutes Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck made a big difference late in the game. Getting three points on the board after losing to Manchester City and Chelsea to open up the season will be a big relief for Emery.

Yet defensively, especially in midfield, Arsenal couldn’t cope with Marko Arnautovic, Michail Antonio and especially Felipe Anderson who launched several counterattacks with astonishing ease. That “balance” Emery has talked about following all of his Premier League games in charge of Arsenal so far may take a long time to arrive. But one thing is clear: Emery will stick to his philosophy and way of playing.

He’s off and running as Arsenal’s manager but don’t let the 3-1 scoreline deceive you. This was far from a routine win for Arsenal as the project under Emery is slowly progressing.

The Arsenal manager also discussed a reported fallout with star midfielder Mesut Ozil, who missed the win against West Ham due to illness.

“There is no problem with the player, this information [about a bust up] is not true,” Emery said.

Ozil, 29, has been publicly asked to work a little harder defensively by Emery, while the German playmaker was subbed out in the second half of the defeat at Chelsea last weekend. There’s no doubting Ozil’s quality but when he returns it appears he, like the rest of his teammates, may need some time to adapt to Emery’s playing philosophy.