Arsenal coach Emery ‘happy to suffer’
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Arsenal head coach Unai Emery admitted his side “suffered” en route to Europa League victory against Qarabag – but insists he would not have it any other way.
The Gunners secured a flattering 3-0 win in Baku as Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Emile Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi all scored their first goals for the club.
But Qarabag put up a fight, particularly in the first half, and will feel the final scoreline was harsh on them for what was a spirited display.
It seemed set to be a simple evening for Arsenal when Sokratis turned home from close range after four minutes but they were then rattled by Qarabag, who found Bernd Leno in good form in the visitors’ goal.
Smith Rowe, 18, coolly tucked away his maiden senior goal to double the lead before Guendouzi wrapped up the three points with a fine late strike.
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“I think we suffered in the match – but I want to suffer,” Emery said after securing an eighth consecutive wins in all competitions.
“I want to not find easy matches, like today. Then, in our moments, to show you and show them our possibilities, our quality and our organised moments. I think in the 90 minutes today, the team worked very well.
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“Each match for us is not easy. Firstly, because when we are playing away, we are playing against a good team like Qarabag. Good players also and with a very great ambition and excited to play against us.”
While all three goalscorers had added reason to celebrate their efforts, Smith Rowe’s strike in particular would have pleased everyone involved with Arsenal.
A product of the club’s academy, he started last week’s Carabao Cup victory over Brentford but looked nervy, here he showed his potential to leave Emery pleased with his efforts.
“In pre-season, Emile Smith Rowe worked very well with us. He knows how we want to play and he is very humble to continue improving and progressing with us and in every training and match, like today.
“A little bit of all the qualities he has: physical, mentality and quality with his right foot. Working in combinations with other players.”