Unai Emery played down a negative reaction from some Arsenal supporters after his decision to replace Alexandre Lacazette in the win over Fulham was met with jeers.
The Gunners head coach has enjoyed a good relationship with the club’s fanbase since replacing Arsene Wenger in the summer but, following a 5-1 defeat at Liverpool and his decision to once again replace Lacazette in a 4-1 success against Fulham, he has endured his first pessimistic response.
Lacazette had put Arsenal two goals in front following Granit Xhaka’s opener but was substituted for Aaron Ramsey after Aboubakar Kamara had halved the deficit.
The decision was booed by a large number of fans, although Ramsey – who has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich with his Arsenal career set to end when his contract expires in the summer – put the game beyond doubt with the third.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a deflected fourth to put the gloss on a largely unconvincing display from the hosts, with Emery asked about the supporters’ reaction afterwards.
“I understand the supporters,” he said.
“Tactically we thought in that moment we needed to change for more balance. Above all we know (Jean Michael) Seri is coming on and need a player close to him, not to let him play easily with the ball.
“Aaron Ramsey can do that and also help us in attack and scored. The reason is this. I need to do my work. And not maybe because every supporter can have a different opinion, tactically.
“But I need to do my work, Lacazette his work and he scored also. He helped us and it was a very positive reaction.”
Ramsey’s future at the Emirates Stadium has appeared certain for some time after Arsenal retracted a contract offer that was on the table for the Wales international.
With six months left on his contract he can now speak to foreign clubs about a deal, with Emery expecting the 28-year-old to remain at the club rather than move away for a fee during the January window.
Asked if Ramsey would stay until the summer, Emery replied: “At the moment he is working with us and I think, yes.
“He worked very well in Liverpool. Today he played 15 minutes and he scored. He helped us for confidence and to earn a good result. I want this focus from him when he is playing.”
While Arsenal recovered from their 5-1 thrashing at Anfield to get back to winning ways here, there were still defensive errors throughout the contest.
Emery, who revealed he lost Shkodran Mustafi to a minor hamstring injury at half-time, knows his side need to work on their defensive solidity in the coming weeks.
“Our challenge now is to improve defensively,” he added.
“We are very happy with the attacking players and scoring a lot of goals like today. We are a high team in terms of scoring.
“We need defence also to (have) more balance and improve. We need to work. We need to do better in the second half of the season, tactically, and we are going to do that.”
The defeat leaves Fulham in the bottom three but manager Claudio Ranieri was pleased with the spirit shown by his side.
“It is a strange match because when you come to Arsenal, you know the quality of players is different,” he said.
“We are in the relegation zone, they are higher. I was so pleased with my players. In the first 30 minutes we created two great chances and Arsenal fans were not happy with their team.
“When Arsenal created the first chance we made a mistake, we were too wide. We had to stay more concentrated in every circumstance.”
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