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The Presser: Smith on Arsenal, Emery, team spirit and offensive improvement

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The Presser: Smith on Arsenal, Emery, team spirit and offensive improvement

Dean Smith delivered his weekly media briefing at Bodymoor Heath on Friday.

Below are the best snippets ahead of Sunday's Premier League tie at Arsenal.

On team spirit in the squad...

It's still developing because you've got players who weren't in the dressing room last year.

But, as I've said, we've got that core of the team that was here. So it still remains at the same time.

Relationships are still building. That'll continue to evolve, like it does at any club.


On West Ham...

It was a missed opportunity with them having had 10 men.

We didn't take advantage of the extra man, but in a way I was pleased because they're still a very good team.

They're a top 10 team this year, as they were last. To restrict them to as little opportunities as we did when 11 v 11 was good.

Tom Heaton has had one save to make, while we had three or four good chances. We just didn't put them away.

On getting results...

It would worry me more if we weren't creating the chances.

I looked at the expected goals stats, and the West Ham game is the only one where we were expected to do more this season.

There's been a lot said about Monday night, but I think we played well in parts and should've won.


On a strong defence...

It's very important. I said home form will be important this season and we've kept clean sheets against two teams looking to break the top six in Everton and West Ham.

Defensively, we're solid and have a good shape about us. We know our responsibilities.

We're looking to improve offensively now.

On Arsenal...

Any team is beatable, we saw that with Norwich City last week.

When you go head-to-head with anyone, you have to believe that. We don't fear teams, just always respect them.

The Emirates is a great stadium and it's a club with a great history and quality players.

But we also know what we're about. We showed in the Spurs game last month we can go toe-to-toe with these teams.


On Unai Emery...

I did my pro-license studying his Valencia team. He was a very down to earth, humble guy. I enjoyed my time there.

Our Sporting Director, Suso, worked with him there also.

I came up against Arsenal in a pre-season friendly at their training ground, then played them in the FA Cup last year.

He's got a wealth of experience at the top level with the likes of Valencia, PSG and now Arsenal.

It'll be another chess match against him this weekend.


Dan Connor
By @danconnor 20th September 2019