Friday, 22 February 2019


Unai Emery says he was pleased with the way his players bounced back from last week’s defeat to BATE Borisov as they comfortably overcame the Belarussians at the Emirates to progress 3-1 on aggregate. An own goal by Zakhar Volkov after 4 minutes set the Gunners on their way to a comfortable 3-0 victory which was completed by Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis who both headed home Granit Xhaka corners either side of the break. Having been below par a week ago, Emery said he was thankful his players could complete the turnaround.

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 09: Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Arsenal FC at John Smith’s Stadium on February 09, 2019 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

“We wanted this result,” he told BT Sport. “Also we wanted to play for our supporters here, to improve and build our mentality after first match away, which was not good. “We did our best to come back (in the tie) and the team worked very well. “But we also had to take precautions because if they scored they can be back in the match. Our message was if we score, carry on. “If we scored two, carry on. Carry on and carry on. We needed two, three or four goals for more precaution in the 90 minutes.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 25: An injured Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal in discussion with Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal as he is given assistance during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 25, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

On a quiet evening at a half-empty Emirates Stadium – both the calibre of opposition and the awkward kick off time playing a role – Emery’s vigorous celebration of each goal really stood out. Having come in for criticism over his tactics and team selection in recent weeks, he took comfort from his players executing his plan.

Arsenal’s Unai Emery looks on dejected during the premier league match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date12th August 2018. Picture credit should read: David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images

“The players did our game plan as we wanted,” he explained. “They arrived in the box a lot with a lot of crosses. And we showed the efficiency we went, which we didn’t have away.”

Arsenal will find out their opponents in the next round today with their fellow London club Chelsea also making it to the next round.

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