January signing Suarez still not ready to play 90 mins – Emery

Joe Williams
Denis Suarez Arsenal

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery admits January signing Denis Suarez is still not ready to play 90 minutes.

The 25-year-old Barcelona midfielder moved to the Emirates Stadium on deadline day on loan until the end of the season.

Suarez, who played in the youth teams at Manchester City and under Emery during a loan spell at Sevilla, has played just 66 minutes of football since.

He has yet to start a game for the Gunners, who have an option to sign the 25-year-old in the summer for a reported fee in the region of £20million.

Having come off the bench against Manchester City, Huddersfield and both legs of the Europa League round of 32 tie with BATE Borisov, Suarez is in line to make his full debut against Bournemouth on Wednesday night.

Alex Iwobi’s ankle injury is likely to make that more of a possibility – although Emery does not expect Suarez to be capable of playing the whole game against the Cherries.

“I am very demanding of myself to find the best performance with the players,” he said.

“I think Denis Suarez is improving first with the adaptation every day and then his quality can give us a lot.

“I think it’s not OK today to play 90 minutes because he needs rhythm, but one possibility is to start tomorrow knowing that. Or, stay on the bench and after he can help us.”

Emery would not be drawn on whether he wants to activate the option to bring Suarez in permanently in the summer, insisting plenty can change for the player before a decision has to be made.

“For me, it’s so far away,” he said when asked about Suarez joining on a permanent basis.

“The football, each match, each week, can change a lot. We are in every match, we are doing a test on everybody.

“My test like a coach is tomorrow and the players are the same. Our demands are very big demands.

“To work hard, to be with focus for each match to show us and show you, the players, the coaches, that we can improve and we can be better every day. For me, the summer is so far away.

“He is working every day, improving and knowing us. My philosophy is that adaptation needs time and after, little by little he will grow confidence and know his team-mates in training and after playing matches.

“For him, all the minutes he can get to help us are very important. On Sunday, for example, my idea was to give him some minutes, but after recent injuries, I cannot give him these minutes. But tomorrow is another opportunity.”

As they prepare for Wednesday’s game, Arsenal continue to be linked with Roma director of football Monchi as they search for a new technical director.

Emery worked with his fellow Spaniard at Sevilla and would welcome someone into the role, even if he insists he remains fully focused on results on the pitch.

“I was usually working with a sporting director in all of the teams,” he added.

“When I arrived I was working with Sven Mislintat and I worked well with him. The club is working for change and after he is leaving for the possibility to continue with this structure. It is one issue on which the club is working.

“My responsibility is to train every day with the players and to find the performances to meet our targets. It’s one issue for work in the club. My focus, the players’ focus and the coaches’ focus is each match.

“The club is working on how we can improve, how we can be better in the present and the future with the people working for us.”