Arsenal head coach Unai Emery had one message after the team’s 3-2 loss to Chelsea on Saturday: Stay calm.
The defeat means Arsenal have lost their first two league games of the season for the first time since 1992, but Emery insisted there is no reason to panic.
Asked how he felt after the game at Stamford Bridge, which followed last weekend’s 2-0 loss to defending champions Manchester City, the Spaniard said: “Calm. I think we need to give that calm to the players and continue working.
“I know we need to improve things. I know we need to push the players to work. … But today the team competed well, had chances in the match.”
Arsenal came from 2-0 down to level the game at 2-2 before the break, only for Marcos Alonso to score a late winner after Alexandre Lacazette had given the ball away in midfield.
The Gunners also missed several great opportunities to score in the first half, with striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang firing over the bar from close range just moments before Alvaro Morata made it 2-0 for Chelsea.
Emery said the number of chances missed was one of the reasons why he was staying positive after the match.
“First, I have calm when I look at my team creating chances. Goal, no goal, we need to continue working,” he said. “Today, with Auba, I know he can play. Maybe there’s one moment where he misses three good chances, but another where they’ll score three chances that are less clear. I am calm with that.
“I want better balance between the attacking and defensive moments. We conceded a lot of chances to Chelsea and, second half, we needed to keep control of the match better with the ball and the positioning. We lost a bit of the positioning on the pitch in the second half, and were working very deep.”
Chelsea dominated much of the second half despite Emery making a tactical half-time substitution to bring on new signing Lucas Torreira for Granit Xhaka, who had struggled up to that point.
He also took off the ineffective Mesut Ozil in the 68th minute, but insisted he was happy with the German’s work rate and said the playmaker can still be a key part of his pressing-based system.
“Yeah, we need him to help with his quality, and also I want to push him to be competitive every match,” Emery said. “Today I’m happy with him because he worked. I decided to change because, in the middle, we needed a bit more to push and not let Chelsea progress easily with the ball.
“We were defending very deep. But I’m happy with Mesut. We are going to do with him the same work and helping him, demanding also work every day. But, at the moment, he is doing that and I’m happy. In the process, I’m sure he is going to do a good game.”