Arsenal boss Unai Emery still has a lot to learn when it comes to handling big-name players, according to former Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado.
The Spanish boss has had a mixed debut season at the Emirates Stadium, praised for his attack-minded methods but criticised for a lack of tactical nouse at times in equal measure.
Arsenal are currently fourth in the Premier League with eight matches of the 2018-19 campaign remaining, two points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United after beating them 2-0 at home on Sunday.
Emery’s men are also still in contention for a Europa League triumph, but they will have to overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit against Rennes in their last 16 tie on Thursday to progress to the later rounds of the competition.
Mesut Ozil’s status in the squad has been one of the main talking points at Arsenal this season, with Emery often opting to leave the German star out of away games – granting him just 15 Premier League starts so far this term.
Salgado, who won the European Cup twice as a player with Real Madrid, says that Emery “cannot handle big egos”, which he believes was his downfall at Paris Saint Germain.
Emery spent two seasons with the Ligue 1 giants between 2016 and 2018, winning seven major trophies, but he was unable to take the club into the latter stages of the Champions League.
“He’s a special manager like [Rafa] Benitez,” Salgado told Malaysian network Stadium – as per Metro Sport. “He needs a squad with no big names, with no big egos. He cannot handle big egos.
“He needs a squad with team-work players, players that he can shape, that he can develop, that he can get into his system.
“Then if he’s got depth in his squad and the right players to work for him during the season and they follow him and are ready for it, then he can get results as he did in Sevilla, winning three Europa Leagues back-to-back because the players were ready for him.
“They were great players, but no big egos, no big names. I think he needs to learn how to deal with egos. He’s still learning.
“I know in PSG it was difficult for him because those were really big egos.”
After facing off against Rennes later in the week, the Gunners will not return to action until after the international break, with their next Premier League fixture at home to Newcastle scheduled on April 1st.
Arsenal must qualify for next season’s Champions League or Emery’s first year at the helm will ultimately be deemed as a failure and they seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time.
However, Salgado still believes that Ozil is vital to the team’s chances of success going forward and that Emery has the responsibility to fit the 30-year-old into his starting XI.
“I think, here, the squad is quite big for him,” Salgado added. “Ozil can be the only one who is a special player because he’s a talented player.
“It’s the job to try to get him into the system because he will need him. A team like Arsenal needs sometimes a different player, a talented player, that’s Ozil for sure.”