Emery claimed he could have turned Arsenal around had he been given more time and that some of the players were “asked for more than what they were giving back”.
And Merson has sympathy for Emery, and has not been impressed by comments following his departure after the players had seemingly downed tools at the end of his tenure.
Merson told Sky Sports: “I don’t like it when a manager comes into a club and says all the players aren’t fit enough. That’s having a dig at the old manager, I don’t like it. When the players start saying, ‘it’s better here now, it’s more fun’ – nah.
“I believe what Unai Emery was saying about the team, because they shouldn’t be where they are with the quality of players they have, and the results they’ve had, they weren’t doing the right things, no doubt about that.
“Mesut Ozil wasn’t playing before, fine, but when a new manager’s playing you, don’t say anything.
“It was always going to be a hard job for Emery. The defence wasn’t good from the word go. It’s all about clean sheets. We’ve seen with Mikel Arteta, the moment the window opened he brought in two defenders.
“But I found it hard watching Arsenal under Emery. I thought it was soft, like watching Arsene Wenger’s teams, and at least now they’re not getting dominated and bullied by Burnley.
“Against Leeds they got battered in the FA Cup in the first half, Arteta gets them in and says what he wants and they absolutely dominate the second half and could’ve won by a lot of goals – that tells me something, when managers can turn things around like he did and players listen.
“Arteta’s not going to come in and tell Ozil how to play a pass, but Arsenal have been the worst team in the Premier League without the ball over the last 10 years and that’s what he’s trying to change.”