Shkodran Mustafi has doffed his cap at new Arsenal boss Unai Emery and his flexible approach to the beautiful game.
German defender Mustafi says he has been impressed with Emery’s ethos in the two weeks or so he has been under his guidance following his arrival at the Emirates on the departure of Arsene Wenger at the end of last season.
World Cup winner Mustafi was put through his paces for about an hour of the Gunners’ defeat on penalties against Atletico Madrid after a 1-1 draw and will feature again on Saturday when PSG are the opponents in the International Champions Cup in Singapore.
And Mustafi is pleased with what he has seen and heard so far from the coach who was formerly at the Paris outfit. He said:
“I don’t know how long it’s going to take for other people to get used to the head coach, but for us players, it’s already done. From the first day, he told us what his philosophy is, what he wants to play, and I think for us players it is important to get that as quickly as possible.
“The pre-season is not four or five months, it’s only a few weeks before you start the Premier League. I think we’ve adapted really quickly and I like the philosophy that the coach is bringing in.”
During the game, Mustafi played alongside Rob Holding before being taken off as the Gunners changed to three at the back and he relishes the coach offering new options for the rear guard. He added:
“Last season we played with three and four at the back. In football today, it’s important to be flexible and I think it’s good if a team can change, so that’s what we’ve been working on.
“We’ve been working more on the back four. We tried the last half an hour with a back three but it’s nothing new for us because as you mentioned, we’ve been playing that way last season. It’s something we need to work on because it makes you stronger and it gives you more possibilities to change during the game.”
Emery, meanwhile, says he is tackling his new role with the Gunners with
“the same mentality I’ve had in my whole career. I want to build a team with a good spirit, a good energy and a very good quality of players.
“Every player is committed to working hard this season and is aware of the demands. Every player at the club and the coaches too, in our careers we have worked hard under these demanding conditions. I believe in these players and now I am very happy with these players who are working hard every day.”
On Monday Arsenal will also get the players returning from the World Cup and Emery revealed:
“For me, if there is a possibility to sign another player, it isn’t important now, but while the window is open we can discuss the possibility.”