The Gunners boss says the target has been top four as the club looks to bounce back from a frustrating season
Unai Emery says Arsenal need to be realistic and admit that there has been a big difference between their side and the two that dominated the Premier League last season.
Arsenal finished fifth in the English top-flight last term, one point behind fourth-place Tottenham as the Gunners fell short of a Champions League spot.
They also fell short against the Chelsea in the Europa League final, as the Blues topped their London rivals 4-1 in Baku to doom the club to another Europa League campaign.
Arsenal’s next goal will be to push back into one of those top four spots, not to challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City atop the league.
And Emery says that has been because there has been still a massive gap between his side and the league’s top two, one that will take time for the club to close.
“We need to be realistic and the distance between Liverpool and Manchester City and us has been [a lot of] points,” Emery said.
“We want to reduce that, we want to be more competitive. We need to improve defensively but with no loss offensively, because the first idea we developed with this team has been to be offensive.
“Sometimes it’s true that we struggled defensively, and to take the balance. Sometimes we took this balance last year. Our challenge has been to keep producing that. And with other teams we know, we are realistic. At the moment Manchester City and Liverpool they are very strong, but we want to do our way.
“To be in the top four has been the same difficulty because Tottenham has been growing up, Chelsea also kept their players [other than selling Eden Hazard] and can keep the performance. Manchester United were behind us last year but they have a lot of potential as a team.
“We need to believe in our way, we need to believe in our process, believe in our players. We have very good players, very good young players. We want to sign two or three players to help us and to do our way.”
Emery enters his second year in charge of the Gunners, having taken over for Arsene Wenger ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.
And the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla coach says that he expects progress this year as the club continues to adjust to him as he adjusts to life in the Premier League.
“I think we progressed, it’s not enough for our first target but it’s our way,” Emery said.
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“I think some players’ development was clear and I want to continue this year. Our target generally has been going to be if we can take some titles, and, overall, our first objective has been to get to the Champions League. But we need that process and we are doing that process.
“We need to reduce the difference with Chelsea and Tottenham. We must remember it has been only two and one point behind them [respectively].
“It has been not enough. I know it has been not enough, but we can be positive to do one step more in our way to achieve and to compete with them and to fight for the top four in the Premier League.”