Arsenal boss Unai Emery praises PSG ahead of International Champions Cup clash
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has spoken highly of former club Paris Saint-Germain ahead of their International Champions Cup clash at National Stadium in Singapore on Saturday.
The Spaniard left the French champions after two seasons in charge and has been replaced by Thomas Tuchel. But Emery is looking forward to catching up with some old friends before and after the match.
"I am grateful to PSG," Emery said in a news conference. "It was a great experience for me -- a great period in my career. Of course, it will be nice to see some familiar faces."
Regarding Tuchel, Emery admitted that the pair have met before and he will welcome the opportunity to speak with his successor.
"Each coach has his own ideas," he said. "Thomas and I have already met in Nyon, Switzerland, before at a convention. Usually, we all chat a bit -- if we meet before or after the match, then we will talk about football."
Emery recognised that Arsenal and PSG are both clubs of considerable stature but will not be changing his approach to his work after falling foul of player power at times in Paris.
"Arsenal and PSG are both important clubs with plenty of history," said Emery. "My work here is the same as it was before -- it will be very demanding but that excites me! I embark on this new adventure with the same outlook that I have had in each of my past roles. I want to build a strong squad with a good collective mentality."
Speaking to PSG.fr, midfielder Marco Verratti admitted that the result against Arsenal is not as important as the lessons they will learn ahead of the resumption of competitive action next month.
"The most important thing is not the result," the Italy international said. "We are fully in preparation mode, so we must be thorough each and every day. There are only two games left before the Trophee des Champions, which is important. We earned our right to participate in it because of last season's success, so now we need to win it.
"The Arsenal match is very important because it will give us a good indication of where we are and where we need to work harder."
Verratti is yet to feature for PSG this preseason after undergoing season-ending surgery towards the end of the last campaign and he has been working hard this summer.
"It has been a long time since my last official game," the Azzurri star said. "I worked hard during the holidays. No player is at 100 percent, yet, and that is normal because we train hard and work towards being ready for the new season.
"I think we will be back to our best in September or October. Today, we must work and work, even if it is difficult because of the fatigue. We must keep going."
Verratti also says is enjoying the change of pace after Tuchel arrived as Emery's replacement and is happy with his Singapore experience so far.
"Each coach has his own style," Verratti said. "We work hard and often, but we are always smiling. We have fun on the pitch, which is important -- everything is going well.
"We are happy with the coach and the other members of staff who are here, always available and doing a great job. This is good for everybody because we are here to work and to prepare for the first competitive match against Monaco. It will be serious from the first minute, this season."
Verratti has been reunited with former international teammate Gianluigi Buffon after the goalkeeper joined on a free transfer from Juventus -- and the ex-Empoli man was delighted with the news.
"It was strange!" Verratti replied when asked about the news. "If I had been told that I would play with Gianluigi at club level, I would never have believed you because I have been feeling good here for a long time and Gigi was fine with Juventus.
"In any case, I have only good things to say. There are no words to do justice to what he has achieved on the football pitch and what a great player he is. He is a gentleman, and everybody will realise that very quickly -- he has a great personality.
"He does not speak for the sake of it. When he speaks, he does it well and he helps the team. We were always close at international level. He is very nice and makes me laugh. I like spending time with him. I am very happy about him moving to Paris."