Arsenal boss Unai Emery calls for ‘focus’ against Valencia after Brighton disappointment

PUBLISHED: 20:16 05 May 2019 | UPDATED: 20:16 05 May 2019

Arsenal manager Unai Emery gestures on the touchline (pic Bradley Collyer/PA)

Arsenal manager Unai Emery gestures on the touchline (pic Bradley Collyer/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has called for his side to ‘focus’ on their Europa League semi-final second-leg after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Brighton left the Gunners with little chance of finishing in the top four. Read on for every word from Emery’s post-match presser.

On the result…

“We had the idea to continue taking chances for the opportunity against Burnley next week, but today we drew. We know they are very organised and strong defensively so the key was scoring the second goal. We tried to do that and they gave us some minutes to come back, and again we tried for the second goal and made chances, but their defence done very well and their goalkeeper made some big saves. I think we worked and tried but didn't get the result for taking chances next week. Now our way is to be strong in our focus for Thursday.”

On whether nerves took control…

“Overall if you score the second goal and make a difference, it can be more calm to play with this, but when they drew level you need to push on again a lot - and we did that. We created chances to score but they defended very well and played very well today. They didn't give us the opportunity to win this match.”

On why we've fallen short of a top-four finish…

“I think we can speak now about the different situations and issues in the season, but it's better to take the focus for Thursday against Valencia - and we are going to do the analysis also. In the Premier league because it's our first target and we didn't take this position like we wanted, but I think we tried today for this victory. We were feeling very well here with our supporters but in the last two matches we haven't been able to win against Crystal Palace and Brighton. I think we deserved more from the last two matches.”

On how we'll be stronger next season…

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“It's not the moment to talk about next season. I think we need to be strong and be together for next Thursday, which will be a big challenge for us in another competition in which we can do something important. We are going to try to do something. We are very, very disappointed. We spoke [before] the game to finish about our ambition and motivation to finish here with a victory and also to take our chances [to try] and finish fourth. But really, today, Brighton worked very well defensively. They deserved this point [because of their work]. But also I think we tired and [missed] chances to score the second.”

On the disappointment of today having an effect on our spirit in Valencia…

“We are going to be stronger in our mentality to prepare for the match on Thursday and we are going to give the best individual and collective performances in the last matches, above all [against] Burnley.”

On how we can close the gap to the Premier League leaders…

“At the moment, for us and for me, we've spoken with the players. The Premier League is the best competition to give us our regularity, our consistency. If we are 27 points behind the leaders, that's the difference. But we are going to work and build up our future. This season is also about learning and continuing to create our way. Our way is in the future to make the difference in the table less to these teams.”

On the importance of getting into the Champions League…

“We know it's going to be very difficult. There are six teams going for the top four and we fight with very big teams. Our way is to make the difference [smaller] to them. Then we have another competition, the Europa League, and we are doing our way [in that]. On Thursday we have the second leg and have this one title to play for. It's a way to get into the Champions League. Above all, for us the Premier League is the first competition and we couldn't be in the top four. We are close to that, with Chelsea and Tottenham, but there's a big difference to Manchester City and Liverpool. Our work in the future is to reduce this difference.”

On if Welbeck is leaving the club…

“I spoke with the club about this situation. The decision is he's going to leave.”

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