Wenger hits back at Emery’s claims Arsenal were on a ‘downward slope for two years’ when he arrived
Arsene Wenger blasts back at Unai Emery’s claim that Arsenal were on a ‘downward slope for two years’ when he arrived and tells sacked boss to stop making excuses: ‘You have to stand up for what you do and not look around you’
- Arsene Wenger has taken a swipe at Unai Emery, his successor at Arsenal
- Emery claimed the club were on a ‘downward slope for two years’ when he joined
- But Wenger refuted those suggestions and took aim at Emery over the matter
Emery was outspoken following his sacking earlier this season that his job was made far harder given what he had inherited from Wenger in the summer of 2018.
Arsenal had dropped out of the top four when Wenger brought an end to his legendary 22-year spell at the club but the French coach is of the belief that Emery has to ‘stand up for what you do’ and ‘not look around you’ when it comes to where he went wrong.
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has responded to Unai Emery on the state of the club
Emery said that Arsenal were ‘on a downward slope for two years’ when he arrived to take over
‘In 2017 we made 75 points and won the FA Cup so you cannot say that [Arsenal were in decline] and the year before  we finished second in the league,’ Wenger, speaking at the Laureus World Sports Awards, said.
‘2018 was my last year but it is very difficult to come out on that.
‘Arsenal is a club that is in a very strong position financially. It has good players, after that when you are a manager you have to stand up for what you do and your results and not look around you. That is the only thing you can do.’
Emery was replaced by former Gunners midfielder Mikel Arteta having seen a drop-off in levels, seeing them slip into mid-table mediocrity.
Wenger won the FA Cup in 2017 and said it is wrong to insist the club were enduring a decline
Fans had become restless under his reign and players had started to look disinterested, ultimately leading to his dismissal.
But Emery, speaking to France Football last week, was adamant that he did a good job in north London given the circumstances when he arrived.
In Wenger’s final season, they were eliminated in the third round of the FA Cup, reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, were runners up in the Carabao Cup and finished sixth in the Premier League, 12 points adrift of the top four.
‘Arsenal was a club on a downward slope for two years before I arrived,’ the 48-year-old said.
‘We stopped this fall and even began to rebuild the club with the Europa League final and 5th place in the league, only one point off of 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.’
Emery did guide the club to the Europa League final in his first season in charge but he and his players found themselves humiliated in a 4-1 defeat in Baku, Azerbaijan, to London rivals Chelsea.
Ian Wright said Emery’s (right) comments about doing a good job with the club are ‘delusional’
The club were eight points adrift of the top four at the time of his sacking and now find themselves seven points adrift of Chelsea, who occupy fourth position.
Club legend Ian Wright sided with Wenger on the debate about the state of the squad, describing Emery’s comments in the French press as ‘delusional’.
He said on the Kelly & Wrighty Show: ‘Under the old manager it was like a regime, it wasn’t very enjoyable, they didn’t know where they were going, there wasn’t a lot of direction in what they were doing.
‘And when you hear the quotes from Unai Emery… delusional comments if you ask me. Yes [they got to Europa League final] but it was the worst performance of an Arsenal team in a final.
‘Because again, whatever he says, the players weren’t happy, there wasn’t a vision or direction, the communication was poor. He can say whatever he wants about how well he’s done because he’s got the “facts” there but that team was going nowhere.’