Kieran Tierney insists it is up to the Arsenal players to address a poor run of form as pressure continues to mount on head coach Unai Emery.
A 1-1 Europa League draw against Vitoria in Portugal on Wednesday afternoon only ramped up the criticism aimed at Emery as the Gunners were lucky to leave Guimaraes with a share of the spoils.
Shkodran Mustafi opened the scoring for the visitors with an 80th-minute header – Arsenal’s first and only effort on target during the game – only to see Bruno Duarte equalise in stoppage time.
It is the fourth time in 10 days that Emery’s side have let a lead slip and Arsenal have now won just one of their last six games across all competitions.
Emery was defiant following the game when was asked about speculation linking former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho as a potential replacement – simply replying “I am the coach.”
But as the whispers surrounding Emery’s future seem to increase in volume with each passing game, Tierney believes turning results around is a challenge that lies on the shoulders of the players rather than their beleaguered coach.
Asked if he was convinced Emery was the right man to address the recent slide, the Scotland defender replied: “Yes, of course.
“It is up to us as players to correct it on the pitch. For me, he (Emery) has been brilliant since I’ve come in.
“I have learned a lot. I am learning a lot every day, playing with great players. Everybody in the changing room has got belief in each other and the manager.”
Tierney, who joined from Celtic for £25million in the summer, also credited Emery with helping him develop his game as he looks to establish himself in the Arsenal side having made the move while carrying a groin injury.
“The players around me are making me a better player as well. I am just learning and I am enjoying every week,” he said.
“He likes to keep the ball, pass the ball with a possession type game and for me I am just learning and working on my technique with him.
“I am working on passing and crossing – everything in general. I am working with the coaches as well, so just all round I am learning.”
Tierney has started just six games for Arsenal as the club continue to manage the 22-year-old back to full fitness.
He has also been omitted from the last two Scotland squads at the request of Arsenal after the club put in place a full recovery programme.
It means Tierney will miss the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan but he accepts the decision and is keen to rest up, also revealing Scotland are on board with the situation.
“They (Scotland) understand,” he added.
“Of course you want to play for your national team, but you need to do what is best for your career long-term.
“Tonight this my second game in five days so near the end I was tiring.
“It is probably the right decision as now I am going into the international break knowing I am getting a rest and recovery, because since my operation the load has went up, up and up.
“To get a rest would be beneficial and hopefully for the next camp I’m ready.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
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