Manu Trigueros, scorer of Villarreal’s first goal in their 2-1 Europa League semi-final win last night, says his side should have killed off any hope Arsenal had ahead of the second leg.
However, a characteristic Unai Emery substitution at half-time, when he introduced defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin for attacker Paco Alcacer, allowed Arsenal to stay in the game.
The Gunners were marginally better after the break, and the red card for Dani Ceballos didn’t hurt the side as much as it might have done, but Emery’s cautious approach certainly handed some initiative to an Arsenal side who could have been dead and buried.
“They got out of hear alive,” said Trigueros. It is clear that we have won and it is a good result, but seeing how the game went we should have killed them.”
The midfielder was also the man deemed to have fouled Bukayo Saka for Arsenal’s penalty, adding to the frustration felt by Villarreal’s players.
“I couldn’t describe what happened to you,” he continued, “but they have found a penalty that .. I haven’t seen it but my feet were still. They have had a big reward for what they have done.”
Former boss Emery was furious at the award of the spot kick afterwards, saying, “The penalty is not a penalty. VAR is there to do justice and you are upset by details that you do not control, such as the referee.
“There is no explanation. I have seen it and I have not understood it. Having VAR you can’t go wrong twice.”
And on the second leg: “We have to be optimistic and think that we have beaten a great team. We have to go to London in that spirit. We must give continuity to the things we did well and improve those that we did not.
“There are 90 minutes left.”