Under-fire Emery seeks fan support in Arsenal’s Europa League clash
(Reuters) – Arsenal manager Unai Emery said on Wednesday that he hopes the club’s supporters get behind the team in Thursday’s Europa League match against Eintracht Frankfurt after a string of poor results increased pressure on the Spanish manager to deliver.
Arsenal are winless in six games in all competitions and a five-match winless run in the Premier League saw them drop to eighth in the standings, with disillusioned fans constantly voicing their displeasure over their failure to win.
Group leaders Arsenal can seal progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League with a win over Frankfurt and Emery said he hopes to “connect” with the disappointed fanbase and win them over.
“We are doing a very good job in this competition but we need to make sure of our first position in the table. Our second objective is to win and take confidence as well as connect with our supporters,” Emery told reporters.
“My only focus is to show tomorrow our performance and connect with our supporters. We know our supporters are disappointed… My wish is, tomorrow, every supporter helps the team and helps the players.
“Our confidence depends a lot on how we can feel in our stadium with our supporters. Teams are coming here playing fearlessly, we need to be strong and together.”
Emery said midfielder Granit Xhaka could return to the squad for the first time since his vocal outburst in October during a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace when he swore at home fans on being substituted and was later stripped of the captain’s armband.
Emery said earlier this month that he was unsure whether the Swiss international would play for the club again.
“He’s in the group and he has the possibility to play. I hope every supporter supports him,” Emery said. “Xhaka’s comeback is going to be important for us.”
When questioned about his own future at the club with British media linking candidates to take over if he was sacked, Emery said: “My future is today and tomorrow. My job is to prepare (for) the match tomorrow, to look only at the match tomorrow.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)