Unai Emery has accused his critics of having short memories amid the backlash that has come his way since Arsenal’s defeat at Sheffield United on Monday night.Emery has found himself under-fire following the 1-0 loss at Bramall Lane, a defeat which saw the Gunners miss out on the chance to move up to third place in the Premier League.The Spaniard’s tactics have been heavily criticised, with pundits and fans questioning whether he has improved things at the Emirates in the 18 months since he replaced Arsene Wenger. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Former Manchester United star Patrice Evra led the criticism, having covered Monday night’s game for Sky Sports.”Sheffield United deserved the win, but I’m not surprised about Arsenal,” said Evra. “I used to call them ‘my babies’ 10 years ago, and they are still, when I look at them and think they are ‘my babies’… that’s the truth – I’m not being disrespectful when I say that.”They look pretty, but they don’t look like a winning team. I respect Aubameyang and Lacazette, but if those two guys don’t score, they’re in trouble, and nothing changes. I’m like, ‘where is Arsene?’ It is the same.”A growing number of Arsenal fans are also beginning to question whether Emery is the right man to the take the club forward.Many view his style of play as negative and boring, with his treatment of Mesut Ozil – who has not even made the squad for the last four league games – a continued source of resentment.But as he prepares for Thursday night’s Europa League tie with Vitora, Emery has launched a staunch defence of his record – with the former PSG and Sevilla boss keen to remind everyone of where the club found itself by the end of Wenger’s reign.“Sometimes we forget the memory and we need to remember,” said Emery. “When I arrived here, this team needed to improve being more competitive.“This club, historically, was winning 1-0 and being very competitive, but it wasn’t enough.“Then it was being competitive with improved creativity. When I arrived, the creativity was good, but being competitive was worse. It was not enough.“I think last year I started to improve being competitive, with some very good matches playing with creativity.“This year we are in a process, but we need patience because our strategy as a club is with some new players and some young players. We changed 10 players and are continuing being competitive. Creativity, maybe we lost a little, but I know we are going to recover that.”Arsenal finished sixth in Wenger’s final year at the Emirates and fell at the semi-final stage of the Europa League, going down to eventual winners Atletico Madrid over two legs.Emery improved on that in his first season, guiding the club to a fifth-place finish and a Europa League final, where they lost out to London rivals Chelsea.But his remit now is to earn a top-four finish and bring Champions League football back to the Emirates for the first time since 2017.The Gunners currently sit fifth following Monday night’s defeat and are just four points behind champions Manchester City, who are second.But they have scored just 13 goals in nine games and continue to struggle to create chances, something that only highlights the fact that Ozil is being left out of squad on a weekly basis.And it’s the style of play which is the bone of contention with some supporters, who are growing more and more frustrated with what they view as negative tactics.“There are a lot of supporters with different opinions,” said Emery, when quizzed on whether he values results over style. “Some want more creativity, some want maybe more intensity, more energy. I want both and my way is both. My idea is to be competitive, with creativity.“Our creativity sometimes is good, sometimes very good and sometimes worse. We have time and we have very young players, who we are giving confidence, minutes in the Premier League to adapt to the rhythm we want. We are in one process. Here, the most important is the club, the strategy of the club, the team, the group. “Our job is finding how we can improve and get better in our way, and one is creativity. We are winning at home, but I think we can win and we can also be more clear in our style, improving maybe that creativity.”Emery added: “We need to win, we need to achieve our targets. And then [it’s about] how we can play better and then how we can show and transmit to our supporters all they want to see in our team. Playing with energy, playing with a good combination, playing with a very big intensity.“This is the way. We are in the process. And why we are in the process? Because we changed players and because we are taking young players and giving them chances. We are not saying to them ‘you can train with us but you are on the bench on Sunday’. No no no. They are playing. It is a process that needs patience sometimes.”For example, Bukayo [Saka] little by little is getting better. It’s amazing. It is the same with [Joe] Willock, with [Reiss] Nelson, with Matteo [Guendouzi]. Last year Matteo arrived here from the second division in France but we used him all season, playing.”Sometimes he struggled with some issues tactically, above all defensively. But this year he is doing better defensively and the supporters are happy with him. It’s because last year we worked and we used him on the pitch, not on the bench.”
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