Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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Mkhitaryan eyes fresh ideas from new man at the Gunners' helm

By Mark Staniforth

Henrikh Mkhitaryan hopes new Arsenal head coach Unai Emery will bring some fresh "tactical ideas and spirit" to the club.

Spaniard Emery has succeeded Arsene Wenger, who was manager for 22 years, and set out his positive vision for the future yesterday.

Attacking midfielder Mkhitaryan joined the Gunners from Manchester United in January as part of the deal which saw Alexis Sanchez head to Old Trafford.

The Armenian feels Emery, who left Paris St Germain at the end of the season having won the French domestic treble, can make a real impact at the Emirates Stadium.

"I still haven't had an opportunity to meet him," said Mkhitaryan.

"We didn't have time to talk with each other. I hope he will bring new tactical ideas and spirit to Arsenal, and I hope he will succeed.

"I haven't talked to my team-mates about him. I would like to meet him.

"Everyone at the club is a professional. Everyone knows what he should do and what he is expected to do."

Mkhitaryan admits it will be a different club he heads back to for the start of pre-season training, with Wenger having been in charge for so long.

"Not only the players, but the staff overall were sad," he added.

"It's not that easy to handle the exit of a man who was managing the team for 22 years.

"You can't imagine how everyone was amazed with the atmosphere he had created. If he decided to stay for 10 more years, no one would have been against (it)."

Mkhitaryan feels Emery's Arsenal - who will compete in the Europa League next season - must target a swift return to the elite of European football.

"Our priority (last year) was qualification for Champions League, but unfortunately we didn't manage that," he said.

"We wanted to do it and we fought for it, but everything can happen in football, so we should focus on next season and return to the Champions League in two years."

Belfast Telegraph

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