Unai Emery insists there’s no translation issue with him and Bukayo Saka, even if he does get Freddie Ljungberg to help out sometimes.
After the win over Frankfurt on September 19th, when Saka announced himself with a goal and two assists in his first start of the season, the teenager told the media that it helps to have Ljungberg around when communicating with Emery.
“It helps so much,” the winger said. “Sometimes when I don’t understand, when the coach is trying to communicate with me, I have better communication with Freddie sometimes, he speaks better English.”
Asked about the comments in his press conference ahead of Arsenal’s match against Manchester United on Monday, Emery confirmed he sometimes uses Ljungberg to help with certain conversations with individuals.
However, he added that he also spends plenty of time communicating with them one-on-one.
“I have conversations with players, particularly individually with Bukayo,” Emery said. “Sometimes I use Freddie to have that conversation with individuals.
“But I also spoke to Saka alone in my office and prepared videos – I’ve done videos with English players, Spanish players, French players, German players.
“Now my English, from one to 10, is maybe a six but I think the players can understand me. If not, some help is good.”
The important thing is that the messages are getting across to the players, regardless of the method of delivery. Videos to demonstrate specific areas for improvement can be just as effective as verbal explanations if used correctly.
If Ljungberg needs to help out with certain translations sometimes, that’s what he’s there for anyway – to assist the head coach.
Now, if Emery isn’t able to get through to the players what he wants them to do, that’s another matter. At that point, the inability to communicate will translate itself into poor performances on the pitch and become a real problem. According to the head coach, that’s not the case.