PSG on the right path despite slow start, says Unai Emery

Paris St Germain coach Unai Emery is confident his team are on the right path despite their stuttering start to the season.

By: Reuters | Paris | Published:September 14, 2016 7:09 pm
psg, psg football, paris saint germain, paris st germain, psg vs arsenal, arsenal vs psg, champions league, uefa champions league, football news, football PSG played out a 1-1 draw against Arsenal in Champions League on Tuesday. (Source: AP)

Paris St Germain’s 1-1 home draw with Arsenal is not the kind of result they wanted in their Champions League opener but coach Unai Emery is confident his team are on the right path despite their stuttering start to the season.

The former Sevilla coach took over from Laurent Blanc in the close season as the French champions hope to get past the quarter-finals in Europe’s premium club competition after four successive exits at that stage but PSG have yet to shine.

They started brilliantly against Arsenal with Edinson Cavani scoring after 44 seconds but the Uruguay striker wasted several other chances the visitors eventually equalised through Alexis Sanchez in the 78th minute of the Group A clash.

“I am happy with the work of the team,” said Emery, who led Sevilla to three successive Europa League titles. “I want all our players to play the way we did today. The players ran, worked, made good use of the ball.”

It was probably a veiled reference to forward Hatem Ben Arfa, whose defensive work has not been sufficient and who was left out of the squad for Tuesday’s game at Parc des Princes.

“I hope we will do better next time but we are on the right path. It’s the team that I want, a team with guts.”

Emery has made many changes to his starting team in four games in Ligue 1, where PSG have managed just seven points, and he made more alterations on Tuesday, notably replacing ever-present goalkeeper Kevin Trapp with Alphonse Areola.

In the first half, PSG were all over Arsenal, pressing high, looking solid and creating chances, unlike in their first league outings. “It’s the game that gives us an identity,” said Emery.

But PSG have to solve their finishing problems after Cavani missed a couple of sitters that would have killed off Arsenal.

Emery believes the Uruguayan just needs more confidence, having lived in the shadow of Swedish talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who left for Manchester United this season.

“He’s creating chances. It’s the first step. Then, with confidence and hard work, he’s going to score goals,” he said.

PSG’s next Champions League game is away to Bulgarian champions Ludogorets on Sept. 28 while they visit Caen in Ligue 1 on Friday hoping to move up from seventh place.