Unai Emery says Arsenal will approach tomorrow’s Europa League semi-final first leg with Valencia with one eye on the return match as the Gunners look to progress to a first European final in 13 years.
The Spaniard, who won the competition three times with Sevilla, has urged his players to deliver a focused performance at the Emirates knowing full well that his former club will fancy their chances on home turf against a squad who’ve struggled on their travels this season.
“You need to play 90 minutes thinking we are going to play another 90 minutes,” he told his pre-game press conference.
“It is not all finished tomorrow. If you can win, it’s good, if you can win without conceding a goal, it’s perfect.
“We need to manage 90 minutes and be solid, be strong and be clear in our minds with the possibilities with the result. Our idea tomorrow is to win.”
Asked how his team lift their spirits after three consecutive defeats, Emery replied, “we need to be very focused on this round. We are also in the Premier League with our possibilities for top four.
“I think we are in a great moment to enjoy working, working hard, focusing hard on our mindset to each moment and each moment is to do the training, tomorrow the match.
“I think the players are very concentrated and very focused for that, today the training was good and I am positive with the players, with the team, for our moment.”
We don’t have a good head-to-head record with Valencia. The Spaniards beat us in the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup on penalties in 1980, knocked us out at the quarter-final stage of the 2000/01 Champions League on away goals and beat us in 2002/03 to advance from the Champions League second group stage in our place. Basically, we owe them some pain.