Arsenal’s Big Friendly Giant Per Mertesacker has admitted that it was Arsene Wenger that persuaded him to take over as the Youth team manager when he retired last summer, and he also blamed the players for getting Le Prof the sack by not trying hard enough, and now he has come out to say that he would have preferred Wenger to have stayed to make his life easier.
But first of all he admitted that the Gunners need to be more ruthless to be winners, just like Petr Cech was at Chelsea. “Cech’s background at Chelsea, that is the way he won,” Mertesacker said.
“You can feel when we went there it was always tough and we struggled to deal with the intensity and that defensive ruthlessness.
“We can take that on. We have to learn and adapt to what Chelsea have brought.”
Mertesacker then said that his life would have been easier under Wenger but he is trying to get used to the new intensity under Emery. “The easiest way for me would have been if Arsene had stayed,” he said.
“He would have trusted me and given me an easy way. But I am excited about the new stuff and the change in management.
“Unai Emery is a hard coach and is totally focused on what happens on the grass.
“That is his main focus – to get us back in the Champions League.
“It is exciting that I am part of that process.
“People want to see results but we need to make sure the change happens in the right way and not to rush it too much.”
It looks like the changes are happening in the right way so far, but I’m surprised that Mertesacker would prefer it to be easier. Surely you can only get better by pushing yourself harder, especially if your job is to push the youngsters into excelling themselves on the training ground?