Pablo Mari has called on Arsenal to go “full gas” when Villarreal visit the Emirates next week knowing another sluggish start could end our Europa League hopes.
The Yellow Submarines should be out of sight already having raced to a two-goal lead in last night’s semi-final first leg, however, the Gunners, courtesy of Nicholas Pepe’s penalty, edged back into things even after Dani Ceballos had been given his marching orders.
Mikel Arteta’s side had a chance to grab an unlikely draw when the home side were also reduced to 10 men – Etienne Capoue received two bookings in 12 minutes – but substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang couldn’t convert his chance in stoppage time.
“But for me I think for me we don’t have to wait to go into that situation to react. I think we have to learn about that and we have to put all the effort starting from minute zero next week to go to the final.”
Like his manager, Mari was at a loss when asked to explain Arsenal’s struggles in the first half.
“I don’t know. At the end, you’re on the pitch and I try to help everybody, but we did some mistakes and I think this is key because they like to play football and they know when you do a mistake to go on that side and take the goals. So at the end, we have to learn from that.
“They only had two chances and scored two goals, we have two and we scored one. At the end, semi-finals and quarters can be decided in the boxes, in attacking and in defence, and at the end, they had more efficiency than us today and we have to change that [next] Thursday.
“We have to go full gas from minute zero and go with everything to win the game.”
Arsenal took a 27-man squad to Spain and opted to stay overnight with a view to squeezing in a training session this morning ahead of Sunday’s trip to St James’ Park.
Given there’s very little riding on Sunday’s match, it’s fair to expect a lot of rotation before Unai Emery makes his Emirates return on Thursday.