Arsene Wenger hits back at Unai Emery and denies Arsenal were in decline

Unai Emery claimed Arsenal were in decline when he succeeded Arsene Wenger
Unai Emery claimed Arsenal were in decline when he succeeded Arsene Wenger (Picture: Getty)

Arsene Wenger has hit back at Unai Emery and denied Arsenal were in decline when the Spaniard succeeded him at the Emirates.

Emery was dismissed in November, barely 18 months on from replacing the legendary Frenchman and has subsequently sighted a number of factors in his downfall.

The Spaniard last week criticised the attitude of a number of his senior players and attempted to paint his only full season in charge as a success, despite blowing Champions League qualification and presiding over a humiliating Europa League final defeat at the hands of Chelsea.

He said: ‘Arsenal was a club on a downward slope for two years before I arrived.

‘We stopped this fall and even began to rebuild the club with the Europa League final and fifth place in the league, only one point off Tottenham despite the fact that we took just one point in our final five matches.

Unai Emery was sacked by Arsenal in November following a miserable run of results
Unai Emery was sacked by Arsenal in November following a miserable run of results (Picture: Getty)

‘We had Champions League qualification in our grasp and it went wrong in the end. But it was a good season and we had this notion of continuing to improve.’

Wenger, however, refuted Emery’s accusation, insisting he inherited a club in rude health, and hinted he should accept responsibility for his own failings.

‘In 2017 we made 75 points and won the FA Cup so you cannot say that [Arsenal were in decline] and the year before [2016] we finished second in the league,’ Wenger said at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

‘2018 was my last year but it is very difficult to come out on that.

‘Arsenal is a club that is in a very strong position financially. It has good players, after that when you are a manager you have to stand up for what you do and your result and not look around you.

‘That is the only thing you can do.’

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