EUROPA LEAGUE: Arsenal ready to ‘battle’ Chelsea in the final according to boss Unai Emery
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Arsenal boss Unai Emery insists his side are ready to ‘battle’ with Chelsea in the Europa League final on Wednesday night. Read on to see what he had to say before the two teams go head-to-head in Baku.
On how he's feeling…
"This answer not easy. I am feeling well in this moment with a new opportunity for us and for me. In my career I can win and can lose but every day I keep moving ahead - and my mind is the same."
On Cech's history with Sparta Prague - and whether he will start…
"Sorry, I am not thinking about Sparta Prague with all my respect. We are thinking of our final and we have a big challenge tomorrow. We have two targets, but the most important target is the possibility to win a title and enjoy a moment like that. Each title is very important for a team like Arsenal and Chelsea in England and in Europe. We want to enjoy this moment thinking of our supporters. As for the first XI tomorrow, I want to say it to the players first and I am going to say it tomorrow. I can speak about Petr Cech a lot, but above all he is a great man, a great professional, amazing in his behaviour with us and it will be last match tomorrow because he decided to retire. I want to do something important with him in the last moment of his career - and this has been my conversation with him, playing or not playing. We want to win for us."
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On whether he feels responsible to deliver a European trophy…
"I don't feel or think only for me. We have everybody wanting to do something important and for example we have something important here with this title. We deserve to play this. We did a a good way in this competition and we feel a lot do something together in this competition. We started with two targets, one is to win the Europa League and the second is reaching the Champions League through the Premier League. We can do two objectives tomorrow. We can win one title and also play with the opportunity to go to the Champions League. Above all we want to enjoy and play with all our good spirit and also I think this competition is improving a lot and over the last years big teams have played in the final. I hope that in the future Chelsea and Arsenal could be a final in the Champions League! We have a lot of very good players and some of the best players in the world, so it's a very good moment for football in the world."
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On whether winning the Europa League would surpass Wenger's achievements…
"All he did was amazing in this club and my respect for him is more than the top. After he gave this team lot of important things with new football culture. I want to hold that and improve things. We spoke when I arrived here what I wanted to give Arsenal. One is to be competitive in all situations and I learned a lot from Arsene Wenger as a coach and also I have big respect for him. I want to help Arsenal to achieve everything and all the possibilities in our way. One is a Europa League title, and another is to keep improving to achieve the best position in the football world for Arsenal. I think in the history, the present and the future Arsenal will be in the 10 best teams of the world. Our objective is to achieve that."
On the Champions League...
"The Champions League is our objective and we knew it was going to be difficult when we started the season. And now we are with the possibility to achieve that and our challenge tomorrow is to win one title and have the possibility to play next year in the Champions League. But we are in our process and our progress and now I can say the same as when we started: it is going to be difficult. But we have the possibility tomorrow and I think we can be first happy with this challenge tomorrow and with a very big responsibility to do all we can to achieve that."
"I respect him a lot. His career is amazing. First, like a person and second like a professional goalkeeper, I think he deserved us to trust in him. Not because I am saying to you here, but because his career says to us that he is a gentleman. Tomorrow he can start or cannot start. I am going to decide. But both for him is done with respect. Really, I think how can we not believe in him?"
On if there's more desire to win this competition now due to the Champions League qualification...
"I explained last week in the press conference, I started playing in this Europa League when its name was UEFA Cup. And in 10 years it improved a lot. When UEFA's direction decided to give the winner the possibility to play Champions League three years ago, I think it is also one important step for the teams. Above all, for example in the domestic competition like in England, because the top four is really hard to achieve with a lot of important teams, in Spain is the same and maybe in Germany and Italy. For example, Lazio and Milan are out of the next Champions League. The Europa League improved a lot I think in the last 10 years. One, the decision from UEFA to give the possibility to play the Champions League if you win, I think it helps it to improve more. I think now and in the last years with Sevilla, but in the last years for example Atletico Madrid, Olympique de Marseille and also Manchester United. I think now a lot of teams, and an example is also this year with Chelsea and Arsenal, they are playing this final with great teams in the world. All the teams cannot do one way into the Champions League, so this way is also important. Firstly because it's one title and after I think the Champions League, the Europa League is the second-most important trophy you can win. To battle the best teams, like we battled Napoli, we battled Valencia, and now the final and the possibility to battle Chelsea, it gave us this challenge in an important way and to show our capacity in this competition."
On if it gives us an advantage that this final means more if we win...
"I think not. Because the first thing is, in Chelsea, they are in the same idea. Chelsea won this competition with Rafa Benitez and in this moment there is not the possibility for home to go from Europa League to Champions League. Why is the reason? Because one objective in all the teams in the world is to play for the possibility to win a title. I think the first objective is to play for the possibility to win one title. The second is to also help us to achieve the Champions League through this competition. But the first target for Arsenal, and for Chelsea, is to play to show our supporters and win for our supporters and us this one title."
On how frustrating it is for him that ours and Chelsea's allocation of tickets for this final was small...
"It's not in my hands. I played also a Super Cup final with Sevilla against Barcelona in Tbilisi in Georgia three years ago. They have their reasons to play here. I must respect this decision. After, yes I prefer to play with our supporters here. I prefer if a lot of supporters can come here, from us and Chelsea, from London. But it's difficult to fly here. Tomorrow, there are going to be a lot of supporters, first in England and second in all the world, because Arsenal and Chelsea have a lot of support around the world. Here is the same, there can be a lot of supporters from Azerbaijan or from closer to this country to help us here in the stadium. I am thinking tomorrow that this stadium, a big stadium, an amazing stadium, full with all the supporters from Arsenal and Chelsea and also from football, because this is one match with two very great teams. Really I prefer to be with our supporters but we know we are going to play for our supporters here and our supporters in London."