Arsenal manager Unai Emery has praised the strength of his side to recover from their disappointment in the Premier League by beating Valencia 4-2 on Thursday to seal their place in the Europa League final.
The Gunners have won just two of their last seven league games, which has left them stuck outside the top four, so winning the Europa League final is the only way for Arsenal to reach the Champions League next season.
He said: “We had confidence. We had two possibilities – the Premier League we lost, now we are in the Europa League.
“After the Premier League was lost, we took a strong stance in our mind to prepare, to focus, to work hard to take this feeling. We can be proud of the players, of the work, of our supporters. It’s not finished. We have one step more to play in the final. We are happy but we know it will be difficult to win.”
Both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were in great form, giving Arsenal fans a reason to be optimistic for the final. Opta also provided supporters with another, highlighting just how well Emery has performed in the Europa League in recent seasons.
Including finals, Arsenal manager Unai Emery has won his last 19 Europa League knockout ties, last being eliminated from the competition in the 2011/12 semi-finals with Valencia.
He lifted the trophy with Sevilla in three consecutive seasons between 2013 and 2016, before spending two years in the Champions League with Paris Saint-Germain ahead of his move to Arsenal last summer.
Emery’s Sevilla side were dominant in the competition, earning victories over the likes of Liverpool, Porto and Benfica to establish themselves as Europa League specialists.
The Gunners will need their manager to have a similar winning impact when they meet Chelsea in Baku on May 29, or they will be forced to spend another season away from Europe’s most prestigious competition.