Unai Emery has defended his record as Arsenal boss and questioned the attitude of some of the players he managed during his tenure at Emirates Stadium.
Emery was sacked as Gunners head coach in November, just 19 months after arriving from Paris Saint-Germain to succeed the long-serving Arsene Wenger.
The club missed out on Champions League qualification during his first season in charge, though they did improve on their finishing position from the previous year by coming fifth and reaching the Europa League final, where they were beaten 4-1 by Chelsea in Baku.
Despite missing out on silverware and a top four place, Emery believes his first campaign in north London should be considered a success, as he had arrested a slide that had begun during the final few years of the Wenger era.
“Arsenal was a club on the downward slope for two years when I arrived,” Emery told France Football.
“We stopped this fall and even started to straighten the club with a Europa League final and a fifth place in the championship, only one place behind Tottenham.
“We had the qualification for the Champions League in hand and it went wrong in the (Europa League) final. But it was a good season and we had the idea to continue this progression.”
Emery was backed in the transfer market over the summer, with the likes of Nicolas Pepe, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney joining the club to try and fuel a Champions League charge.
However, the Gunners continued to struggle for consistency and after a run of seven games without a win, their worst run of form since 1992, Emery was dismissed with the club eighth in the Premier League, eight points outside the top four.
Emery blames those poor results on a lack of leadership following the summer departures of Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal, while suggesting some of those who remained lacked the required mental attributes to succeed.
“We lost our four captains: Koscielny, Cech, Ramsey and Monreal,” Emery said. “We have missed personalities this season to stay on track. And some stars did not have the right attitude and asked for more than they gave.
"Given all that, it would have taken more time to successfully transition to the new Arsenal that I wanted.”