Unai Emery insists his players will continue to take it game by game as Arsenal challenge for a Champions League position on two fronts in the final months of the season.
The Gunners boosted their chances of finishing in the Premier League top four with an important 2-0 win over Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday and now turn attention to the Europa League where we must overcome a 3-1 deficit against Rennes on Thursday if we are to secure safe passage to the quarter-finals.
After goals from Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw off Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s in-form Red Devils – and in the process reduced the gap on third place Sp*rs to a solitary point – Emery preached the importance of being consistent in the final eight league games.
“We were positive when we were struggling in the table and we took balance in our mind when we were worse – and now after these victories we can be positive, but it won’t change our idea,” he told his post-game press conference.
“We need to continue and it will be difficult, and our style and way and thinking will be game by game.
“We’re in two competitions now, the Premier League and also the Europa League. We are going to play the next match here against Newcastle in three weeks and that’s a lot.
“Our focus now is Thursday. We are happy today, we are going to analyse the match and also in the table we are better, but Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are with us.
“We are going to play some difficult matches and being consistent is very important. At the moment I think we are playing consistent in each match and today we showed everybody that.
“We were calm, showed passion and continued improving. We know that for example on Thursday one match can change a lot with one red card or goal, so controlling our emotions is very important. We need to keep this consistency in our mind.”
Since losing at home in the first game of the season, we’ve now gone 15 games unbeaten in the league at the Emirates, securing 41 points along the way. In addition to the win over United, the run has included high-profile victories over Chelsea and Sp*rs and a thrilling draw with Liverpool.
Given that roll call, Emery played down suggestions that the latest scalp was the best of the lot.
“I don’t know if it’s the best performance this season,” he reflected. “I think we’re improving and also I think we’re being competitive in different matches, away from home and against different teams.
“We responded and sometimes you’ve seen different systems and different players, but above all, we can feel today very proud of every player.
“Above all, I want to say thank you to our supporters because they helped us a lot and we can create a big atmosphere like today for the next matches and for Thursday.
“I think it’s very important. The players did very well with a very big spirit and big commitment for the work we’ve done.”