Arsenal must believe in Emery – Pires

The former Gunners winger has backed the club’s current manager and has called for him to be given time in the job

Robert Pires has said Arsenal manager Unai Emery must be given time to build his own side at the Emirates.

The former Sevilla boss led the Gunners to a fifth-place finish last season in his first year as manager, as well as a Europa League final, which they lost 4-1 to London rivals Chelsea.

But, despite Arsenal having a reportedly low transfer budget in the region of £45 million this summer, Pires has backed Emery to bring the good times back to the club.

Speaking about Freddie Ljungberg’s promotion as assistant coach to Emery, Pires said: “It is step by step. The manager now is Unai Emery. I think he had a very good season.

“For a first season, it was very difficult because the people, fans and media compare him with Arsene Wenger. 

“And unfortunately we lost the final [of the Europa League] against Chelsea. But I think he’s a good manager for Arsenal. 

“We need to say: ‘okay, you have the time – maybe you can build the team next season’, and the most important thing is to believe in the manager.”

Ljungberg was appointed as assistant first-team coach earlier this month, and Pires believes his former team-mate is an ideal fit for the Gunners.

“I’m very happy for Freddie Ljungberg because he will join the staff with Unai Emery,” said the Frenchman, speaking ahead of JDT All-Stars charity match in Johor, Malaysia. 

“This is a good decision from Arsenal. He did very well with the Arsenal Under-23s, by winning the title. 

“He knows Arsenal, he knows high level [football], he knows how you can win the title. When I saw the news, I was very happy for Freddie. That’s why I sent a message to him wishing him good luck for the new season.

“I think Arsenal need an ex-player like him to bring his experience and philosophy to the team.”

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Ljungberg was previously in charge of the club’s youth sides and Pires hopes the Swede’s promotion will help pave the way for the Gunners’ young talents to make the step up to the first team.

“Yes, maybe [Ljungberg’s appointment will help]. Because Arsenal have a very good academy. On this point, Ljungberg knows all the young players. 

“Maybe during the pre-season, he will bring two to four players to play with the first team because we’ll have a very good pre-season in America with lots of very great games.

“So that’s why I think it’s important now to mix players with experience and the young players from the academy. A guy like Ljungberg is like a bridge, a very good bridge.”

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