Unai Emery says he was pleased with the way his players bounced back from last week’s defeat to BATE Borisov as they comfortably overcame the Belarussians at the Emirates to progress 3-1 on aggregate.
An own goal by Zakhar Volkov after 4 minutes set the Gunners on their way to a comfortable 3-0 victory which was completed by Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis who both headed home Granit Xhaka corners either side of the break.
Having been below par a week ago, Emery said he was thankful his players could complete the turnaround.
“We wanted this result,” he told BT Sport. “Also we wanted to play for our supporters here, to improve and build our mentality after first match away, which was not good.
“We did our best to come back (in the tie) and the team worked very well.
“But we also had to take precautions because if they scored they can be back in the match. Our message was if we score, carry on.
“If we scored two, carry on. Carry on and carry on. We needed two, three or four goals for more precaution in the 90 minutes.”
On a quiet evening at a half-empty Emirates Stadium – both the calibre of opposition and the awkward kick off time playing a role – Emery’s vigorous celebration of each goal really stood out.
Having come in for criticism over his tactics and team selection in recent weeks, he took comfort from his players executing his plan.
“The players did our game plan as we wanted,” he explained. “They arrived in the box a lot with a lot of crosses. And we showed the efficiency we went, which we didn’t have away.”
Arsenal will find out their opponents in the next round tomorrow.