The Gunners boss saw his side squander another lead on Wednesday as they drew with Vitoria in the Europa League
Unai Emery reiterated that he is still Arsenal‘s manager as rumours continue to swirl linking the likes of Jose Mourinho with the club.
Emery has come under fire in recent weeks as the Gunners have struggled both domestically and in Europe.
On Wednesday, Arsenal were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Vitoria in the Europa League as Shkodran Mustafi’s 80th-minute goal was cancelled out by a last-gasp Bruno Duarte bicycle kick in stoppage time.
Mourinho has been out of work since his acrimonious departure from Manchester United nearly 12 months ago, but is reportedly keen on return to management and would relish the opportunity of again plying his trade in the Premier League.
The 56-year-old was pictured at the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago when he attended the Europa League game against Vitoria, while he reportedly recently dined with Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi. Asked whether the spectre of Mourinho was worrying him after Arsenal let a lead slip for the fourth game in a row against Vitoria on Wednesday, Emery said: ‘I am the coach.’
Shkodran Mustafi’s second half header, Arsenal’s only attempt on target during the entire match, looked to have maintained Arsenal’s 100% start to their European campaign, but Bruno Duarte’s injury time volley rescued a point for the hosts and denied Emery a morale boosting win.
Arsenal travel to Leicester on Saturday knowing a defeat would leave them nine points behind the Foxes and potentially bring about a premature end to Emery’s troubled reign.
Asked if there was a problem with an attack which is struggling to create opportunities from open play, Emery said: ‘They are very defensive , with a big structure defensively.
‘They were defending very deep and together. To create and find small space is not easy against that team.
‘We want to improve, to continue in our way, to be strong defensively and create chances to score.
‘Today our objective we did, to be first in the group. A little disappointed because we didn’t win.’
Arsenal have since refuted those claims , but ex-Sevilla boss Emery was still asked about the Portuguese following the draw in Guimaraes.
When asked if he was concerned about being replaced by Mourinho, Emery responded swiftly, saying: “I am the coach.”
Pressure will continue to mount on the former Paris Saint-Germain manager following Arsenal’s display on Wednesday as the Gunners squandered yet another lead.
“In this competition, our objective is to be first in the group,” Emery said. “We are going to play the next two matches to make sure we’re in that position. Now we’re going to prepare for a new competition.
“We worked, we played, fighting against a team with strong organisation. When we did the most difficult, score one goal, they drew at the end.
“It’s a little disappointing for that result. We’re first in the group, we want to make sure of that position in the next matches.”
He added: “Our objective this evening was to have a clean sheet. We need to improve defensively and be strong in that moment.
“We are using each match to achieve that. We didn’t achieve that against Vitoria Guimaraes.