Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed he used to bet on his teams to lose as a player.
Spaniard Emery forged a career as a midfielder in his homeland between 1990 and 2004 – playing Real Sociedad, Toledo, Racing Ferrol, Leganes and Lorca Deportiva.
But it was during his time at Toledo, which is based in the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha in central Spain, Emery has admitted he backed the side to lose.
However he admits changing his ways after ‘learning a lesson’.
Toledo, who were in the Spanish second tier at the time, were due to face Elche when Emery had a crisis of confidence in his teammates – as revealed in a new biography about him entitled ‘Unai Emery, El Maestro’.
“My footballing career was more painful than joyful,” Emery said in the biography. “To some extent, fear was always at the back of my mind.
“To give you an example, when I was a player at Toledo, two friends and I always filled out betting slips for the results.
“One weekend we were playing at Elche and I bet on them to win because they were favourites and that was logical.
“I went to pay the girl who had to stamp my slip.
“She was a Toledo supporter and she stared and me and asked ‘How can you put Elche down to win? How can you do that?’
“I really learned a lesson from her. How could I be playing in a match thinking we were going to lose?
“That was the start of a learning process to change my mindset.”
There is no suggestion Emery has brought his gambling to the Gunners since joining in the summer, after replacing Arsene Wenger at the Emirates.
The north London outfit have only lost two matches this season, against Premier League holders Manchester City and title challengers Chelsea.
The Gunners are currently on a 13 game unbeaten run in all competition – sitting fourth in the table, top of their Europa League group and are in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.