EUROPA LEAGUE: Arsenal boss Unai Emery and Lucas Torreira open up on crucial Rennes clash
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Arsenal boss Unai Emery and midfielder Lucas Torreira have been speaking about the vital Europa League round of 16 second leg clash against Rennes at the Emirates on Thursday evening. Read on for the full transcript of what they said in the broadcast media section of their press conference at London Colney on Wednesday lunchtime.
ON Lacazette’s suspension being lifted...
UE - Good afternoon, we are happy that we can take all players because it is better without injuries and without suspended players. This news is positive for us.
On his experiences of making a comeback and what we need to show tomorrow...
LT - Obviously we had the situation in the last round where we had to turn the tie around. I think in terms of the game last week it was a very different game until the red card to Sokratis. I think we were in control of the match and we’d obviously taken an early lead, but the red card did change things and Rennes were able to take advantage of things. With that being side, we do have confidence that we’re going to give a very big performance tomorrow and go through to the next round.
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On Lacazette being available...
LT - We all know how important Alex Lacazette is to us as a group and obviously the more players we have available the better it is because we do have some quality players, particularly in midfield and up top. Hopefully we will be able to make that danger pay. Let’s just hope that Lacazette can help us to achieve the result tomorrow.
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On the pressure the group are under...
UE - We are very demanding of ourselves. For us, it’s one positive issue because we want to play big matches, tough matches against the best teams - and in the Europa League we are finding some results like the last round against BATE Borisov with difficulty. This round is the same with a bad result in the first match and for us it’s a tough match tomorrow. But our demands to get our best performance is in each training and each match, very high. I want to play matches that are difficult, with difficult results or with difficult players. Tomorrow is one match. We need to be together and create a big atmosphere in the Emirates with our supporters to help us to do the best performance possible in 90 minutes. We need to play with high emotion with our supporters but taking decisions on the pitch cleverly with our mind. This is both important issues that we need to control over 90 minutes and maybe more. We want to control but we want to build on the game because this result is giving us one long match tomorrow.
On one of Cech’s last matches and what he has meant for international football...
UE - Our thoughts are now for tomorrow positive. We are thinking to play tomorrow 90 minutes with our gameplan and our best tactical decisions on the pitch and being organised with our quality. We are thinking to play and we are thinking to play and we are thinking to play. And our thought is play.
On whether he was surprised by losing the first leg…
UE - I’m not surprised. They are a good team in a good moment and they have quality with different players. They have fresh. Spirit and fresh players playing offensively and they are organised defensively. They won against Betis over two matches wit a big performance and giants us they showed also they have the possibility to win against us like they there, but after this big respect to them we will try and push tomorrow starting with our supporters and a big atmosphere helping us. With our gameplan and capacity we can come back against them.
On his first season at Arsenal
LT - Yes, this is my first season here at Arsenal. I feel great here. I have to say at the start, it was a little difficult because it was a completely different league. I was used to the Italian league, which is a very intense one. However, we were playing once or twice a week there, whereas at the start of this season here, Arsenal were playing every once or two days, so that was quite difficult. However I’ve been helped greatly by all the people at the club, and with a lot of hard work and sacrifice, I’ve managed to develop. I’m very pleased that I’m one of the players to have made the most appearances at the club this season. Having said that, the most important thing now is that we finish the season in the best way we can.
On being favourites...
UE - I don’t think about that. I only want to play the best possible match, doing all we can, with each player and the team. In the first 90 minutes, they beat us and tomorrow, we will want to show here it can be different, but with a big respect to them and also knowing we need all the players with the focus and to control our emotions and control the different situations and scenarios that can come in the 90 minutes. This is our way and our match for tomorrow.
On Laca being available and whether he pairs him with Auba…
UE - We are playing with different systems, with different players. We can play with two strikers, we can play with one. Tomorrow I am thinking not only of the fist 11, because I think we are going to need different situations, maybe different systems and maybe different players. All players are very important. We can play with Lacazette and Auba, or we could play with one. I think we are going to need different possibilities if the match is going one way or another.
On the threat of Ben Arfa - and what he made of his comments after the first leg…
UE - He’s a very good player and we respect him a lot.
On what he made of Ben Arfa’s comments…
UE - My focus is on preparing for the match against Rennes and on each player with his quality. We respect them and him a lot.
On importance of winning nine PL games in a row at the Emirates…
UE - We need to [focus] on tomorrow and create a very emotional moment in 90 minutes with our supporters. We need to be clear in our minds in this 90 minutes, very fresh and very cool to take the best decisions.