Emery was sacked to save Arsenal’s season – Josh Kroenke
Arsenal made the decision to sack Unai Emery over the past “several weeks” because they felt it was necessary if they wanted to salvage their season, according to director Josh Kroenke.
Following weeks of speculation, Arsenal finally relieved Emery of his duties on Friday in the wake of a 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.
That was a seventh successive match across all competitions that the Gunners failed to win, a run that has seen them slip to ninth in the Premier League following Saturday’s matches.
Freddie Ljungberg was installed as interim head coach until Arsenal make a full-time appointment.
Whoever takes up the vacancy should not expect the club’s ambitions for the season to be more grounded because of their difficult start, as Kroenke – son of club owner Stan – still feels they can achieve their goals.
Speaking to Arsenal’s website after addressing the team during training, Kroenke said: “Like all of our fans and supporters around the globe, we’ve been concerned about our recent string of performances.
“We wanted to support Unai and his staff until we decided it was time to make a change and, ultimately, we came to that decision over the last several weeks as a group between myself, Raul [Sanllehi, head of football], Vinai [Venkatesham, chief commercial officer] and Edu [technical director].
“First and foremost, Unai is a good man, someone that we all respect very much. His work ethic on a daily basis between him and his staff was fantastic.
“Ultimately, we started to fall short of several goals that we set. We still feel that we can achieve those goals this season, which is why we decided to make the change now.”
Arsenal have already started to evaluate candidates for the position, but Kroenke insists they will not rush any decisions, confident Ljungberg will prove an effective steward in the meantime.
“First and foremost, Freddie has Arsenal DNA,” Kroenke continued. “Obviously, he was a player here for a number of years, the supporters know him very well and he’s worked diligently behind the scenes for the past several years, including the last year and a half or so with Arsenal again.
“So it’s been great to have him around, he knows the club’s DNA, and we feel he is the right person in the moment to take the club forward.
“Because of our confidence in Freddie, we’re very fortunate that we’re going to be entering into our process and doing a thorough search, and it’s about finding the right candidate, it’s not about finding the first candidate.”