Emery hails Arsenal mentality after narrow win at Bournemouth
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Emery hails Arsenal mentality after narrow win at Bournemouth

Gunners boss hails side's response after Bournemouth equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

David Comerford

Arsenal boss Unai Emery was impressed with his players' mentality as they battled past Bournemouth to move within a point of rivals Chelsea.

The Gunners led on the half-hour mark after Jefferson Lerma's bizarre own goal, but Bournemouth threatened to turn the game on its head when they levelled things up just before the interval.

A 67th minute strike from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though, was enough to clinch three points and end a run of three consecutive draws.

Emery was relieved to see his team return to winning ways and noted the 'control' they demonstrated over the course of the 90 minutes.

"The result is very important and we went up 1-0, but they scored so we needed to keep calm and continue our control, which is getting better on the pitch," the Spaniard explained in his post-match press conference.

"I think we knew this was a difficult stadium and a difficult team, and they were four points behind us, and it was an important game for them to be near us. I am very happy with how the players and fans supported and pushed us today. The control over the 90 minutes with keeping calm in a lot of moments was very important in this victory."

"We have lots of matches coming, and we are playing teams with the same objective as us. I think the team spirit today and the supporters helped us to feel more strong."

'We are conceding more goals than we want'

Emery switched to a back three for the clash at the Vitality Stadium, but the change did not yield a third clean sheet of the season.

Arsenal have scored 28 goals this season - second only to imperious league leaders Manchester City - but their defence remains a concern.

For Emery, the key is to shore up the backline without excessively sacrificing the evident attacking threat.

"We played like that in pre-season and in Qarabag, and it was an opportunity for us to find our best performance, best system and best combinations.

"For example today there was Sead Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi which is a very interesting combination. Also when we are pushing with Hector Bellerin wide we need some players for balance.

"The most important thing for us is finding balance in the defensive moments because we are conceding more goals than we want, but we don’t want to lose our good performances in attacking moments with scoring and the players performances. But we need to improve and we need to do more."

No room for Ozil after tactical switch

The shifted formation left Mesut Ozil on the substitutes' bench, and the German would watch the entirety of the contest from the sidelines.

"We thought how we can be better in the match today which is very demanding with the physicality and the intensity - but every player is important," Emery said.

"Also today we tried with three centre backs like we’ve done at some stages this season and it’s another possibility for us to improve and find our best performance."

Torreira too tired

Emery raised eyebrows when he withdrew Lucas Torreira and sent on Matteo Guendouzi ten minutes from time.

As it turns out, he was exercising caution, with the midfielder suffering from fatigue after returning from international duty. 

"He said to us that he was a little tired and that there was a possibility. He was giving us good balance but also we have to be clever because he played with the national team for two matches and sometimes you need to listen to the player when they sometimes need rest.

"Matteo is working very well and also I think we need every player. This change was because we need to give him a rest."

Torreira is likely to be one of those rested when Arsenal head to Ukraine in midweek for a Europa League meeting with Vorskla.