Former Arsenal manager Unai Emery has vehemently defended his tenure at the Emirates, and pinpointed two key issues as to why his stint was ultimately ended at just 18 months.
The Spaniard was replaced by Mikel Arteta as Gunners boss in November after enduring a run of seven matches without a win across all competitions.
Arsenal have fared little better since his departure, however, with the Gunners registering just three wins from nine under Arteta’s stewardship thus far.
Now, speaking to France Football, Emery staunchly defended his managerial stint in North London.
“Arsenal was a club on a downward slope for two years before I arrived, said the 48-year-old.”
“We stopped this fall and even began to rebuild the club with the Europa League final and fifth place in the league, only one point off Tottenham despite the fact that we took just one point in our final five matches.
“We had Champions League qualification in our grasp and it went wrong in the end. But it was a good season and we had this notion of continuing to improve.”
Pinpointing two distinct reasons behind Arsenal’s stuttering form to begin the current campaign, Emery said: “But we lost our four captains: (Laurent) Koscielny, (Petr) Cech, (Aaron) Ramsey and (Nacho) Monreal.
“They were personalities that we missed this season to stay on the right track, and some stars did not have a good attitude and asked for more than what they were giving back.
“Taking all of that into account, we needed time to succeed with our transition to a new Arsenal, which is what I wanted.”
Cech retired at the end of last season, while Monreal, Koscielny and Ramsey left North London for Real Sociedad, Bordeaux and Juventus respectively.
Meanwhile, Arteta has been given the green light to bring an exciting £46.5m duo to the Emirates this summer.
With the Gunners currently down in 10th place after just six Premier League wins all season, the club look unlikely to qualify for Europe next season unless they can enjoy a surge in form late in the season and/or taste success in the Europa League.
It’s claimed that Arteta is aware that he needs to offload their highest earners in order to re-invest in his squad and plans to buy upcoming talents, as opposed established names, in order to rejuvenate their flagging fortunes.