Unai Emery is “a special manager”, says Michel Salgado, but the Arsenal boss has not yet learned how to handle “big names” like Mesut Ozil.
Having been chosen to succeed the legendary Arsene Wenger at the Emirates Stadium, the former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain boss has not shied away from tough challenges.
He has done a fine job in his debut campaign with the Gunners, with a 2-0 victory over Manchester United last time out lifting his side back into the Premier League’s top four.
Emery has, however, faced difficulties when it comes to handling World Cup winner Ozil and a fellow Spaniard believes dealing with egos has been an issue throughout the coaching career of a 47-year-old who still has much to learn.
Former Real Madrid star Salgado told US network Stadium of Emery: “He’s a special manager like [Rafa] Benitez. 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 like 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.
“I think, here, the squad is quite big for him. 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.”
Ozil was included from the start as Arsenal overcame United in impressive fashion.
Emery opted to pair Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack, while seeking creative midfield influence from Ozil and Aaron Ramsey.
His ambitious approach paid off and Champions League qualification is now back in the Gunners’ hands, with it possible that they could yet finish above arch-rivals Tottenham.