Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery has accused some of his ex-players of not having “a good attitude” in a stout defence of his 18-month reign at the Emirates Stadium.
The Spaniard was relieved of his duties in November last year after a run of seven games in all competitions without a win, with the Gunners eight points adrift of the Premier League’s top four.
He departed amid claims that he had struggled to motivate the club’s biggest names, although he has hit back at those suggestions and insisted he was turning things around.
Emery told France Football:
“Arsenal was a club on a downward slope for two years before I arrived. 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.
“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.”
Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette have both gone public with comments that they feel the team has united under new manager Mikel Arteta’s tactical philosophy.
“As a team, we are much happier and everyone wants to give everything for this club,” said Ozil.