Their way under Pochettino was perfect – Emery surprised to see Tottenham hire Mourinho

Omnisport
Under pressure himself due to recent Arsenal results, Unai Emery thinks Tottenham were rather rash to dismiss Mauricio Pochettino.
Under pressure himself due to recent Arsenal results, Unai Emery thinks Tottenham were rather rash to dismiss Mauricio Pochettino.

Unai Emery admits he was surprised by Tottenham's decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino and appoint Jose Mourinho as head coach.

The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United boss was appointed on a three-and-a-half-year deal on Wednesday just hours after Pochettino's dismissal was confirmed.

Arsenal head coach Emery was shocked by the decision as he considered Spurs' methods under Pochettino to be "perfect", while he is uncertain what Mourinho will do to change their fortunes.

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"Yes, it was a surprise," he told reporters on Thursday.

"I think it's a surprise how the relationship with Mauricio Pochettino finished but I don't know exactly why or how he [Mourinho] is going to change their performance.

"He is a very good coach. His career is very strong with the titles and experience. I think also Pochettino's work in Tottenham was amazing.

"In football, things happen very quickly. The last result may be more important than results in the long term because I think Tottenham were doing very good work with Pochettino.

"Maybe [in] the last matches they didn't achieve good results, but I think, overall, their way under Pochettino was perfect. Now they decided to change, I don't know exactly the reason for that, but they have their way and we have our way.

"At the moment we have some distance in the table from them and we want to keep that distance for the next matches."

Pochettino's exit came during a year in which Spurs have managed just 11 wins in the Premier League, only three of which have come this season.

Emery has also been under pressure of late given Arsenal's run of one win in their past seven games in all competitions, with Mourinho linked with the Gunners' job in recent weeks.

Emery now wants to draw a line under the scrutiny of his own position and get the fans back onside as they try to improve results.

"I am optimistic and also, I know we need to improve our performance with the team individually and collectively. I also know how to achieve that," he said.

"First, it is about connecting with our supporters at the Emirates. Above all, it's not only about thinking about the results but about playing better, controlling the game for 90 minutes.

"We are winning and drawing - not losing at home - but not really convincing the supporters and this is our first objective.

"Our success is going to start by being comfortable, strong and confident at home and really deserving to win each match."

The future of Granit Xhaka has dominated talk of Arsenal lately, the midfielder having not played since he was stripped of the captaincy in the wake of his explosive outburst towards fans during the home draw with Crystal Palace in October.

Emery says the player's mindset has improved and suggested he could recall the Switzerland international to the playing squad, although it seems unlikely he will return against Southampton on Saturday.

"He's coming back better in his mind," said Emery. "His mindset is better to help us and closer to play when we need him.

"This morning I had a very good conversation with him. He was training very well before the international break, he trained very well this morning and also my objective hasn't changed.

"My objective is for him to come back helping us and convincing everyone that his commitment with us is going to be better and we are going to be proud of him in the short or long future with us.

"He's feeling better and his team is Arsenal now. He wants to come back with the confidence of the supporters. Little by little, we can help him come back and connect with us and our supporters."

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