The Gunners held their first training session at the Singapore American School today morning, as the team begins their preseason in the country as part of the International Champions Cup 2018.
Much has been made about preseason preparation without notable stars due to the extended nature of a World Cup year, and Mesut Özil’s sudden retirement from the international stage. However Unai Emery was ready to take on all questions fielded:
You don’t have your full squad here in Singapore, how will that affect your preparations?
The players who took part in the World Cup are not here, but the level of players we have is big. We will play with the capacity that we have, and I am very happy with my players here today. We are prepared to go up against Atlético Madrid.
What is your take on the early closure of the transfer window for English clubs?
The decision to close the transfer market is good, because it is done before the start of the competition.
Arsenal has made five signings so far, are you looking to add more players to the team?
No, I am happy with how the club is working. We are working everyday and can improve, but I am happy with the players I have and I enjoy working with them. We might try and sign one more player if the opportunity is there.
What are your thoughts about Mesut Özil’s international retirement situation?
He is an experienced and quality player with the right mentality. We as a club help him feel good and I feel that he is a quality player for us.
Uli Hoeness said that he last won a tackle before the 2014 World Cup, any comments?
I respect everyone’s opinions, but we are professionals.. We want to win together and we know our own quality. We have learned to deal with such criticism and opinions of others.
How is Özil coping with everything that has transpired these past couple of days?
He is very nice everyday. He trains well. We want to give him a good environment, make him feel that everything is normal and good at the club.
Your first two matches are against Manchester City and Chelsea, how are you preparing?
We have a good mentality, players with big experience. We’re working everyday to build confidence and quality. Starting against City and Chelsea, two teams who have won the English Premier League title in recent years – I am sure we are going in to the first match very strong with our mentality and quality.
Who has best adopted to your approach to high pressing football?
We want to create one mentality, one team, with a big personality. Now it is very important to groom every player, especially the young players. It is a good moment now for the younger players to train everyday and show their quality.
Quality and mentality – these seem to be the key aspects that the new Arsenal manager will be looking to drive home to the Gunners.
Also, It’s fair to say that the new Arsenal manager seems a lot more optimistic about his team’s preparations for the new season than his Portuguese counterpart in Manchester.
Arsenal kick off against Atletico de Madrid at ICC 2018 in Singapore on 26 July 2018 at 7:30PM (SGT – UTC +8).