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Valencia tie still 50-50, says Arsenal boss Emery

By Opta
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery

London, May 3: Unai Emery rates Arsenal's chances of reaching the Europa League final at 50-50 despite winning the first leg of their last-four contest 3-1 against Valencia.

Mouctar Diakhaby headed the visitors into an early lead at Emirates Stadium on Thursday (May 2) but Emery's men turned the tie around.

Alexandre Lacazette struck twice in seven minutes to put Arsenal in front before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a late third.

Copa del Rey finalists Valencia face an uphill task to reach another showpiece but Emery is not underestimating his old side.

"Our idea and my thoughts now is it will continue to be very difficult," Emery, a three-time Europa League winner with Sevilla, told a news conference.

"The second leg away, 50-50, and it's a good result at home the first leg, but the second leg is going to be very difficult and maybe different. I considered for two teams, 50-50 for this season.

"We can be happy today and also proud of our supporters. Here we felt this support for us in 90 minutes and also proud of the players, because at 1-0 it is not easy to be calm and come back to get the result with this team, it's not normal for Valencia to concede three goals.

"Valencia are a very good team so for this reason I am very proud of our work, but there it is going to be very difficult.

"It will be very tough, which is normal, they are a team with the habit of playing semi-finals and with the possibility to come back. I want to play and prepare our strategies. It's one semi-final to play and to enjoy working.

"We will prepare the match thinking this round is 50-50 for both and we need also to play there thinking to win, to score. Also to take our moment in attack, control with the ball and possession but they are going to feel strong with their supporters."

Laurent Koscielny was substituted late in the game but Emery allayed fears over the defender, who could miss Arsenal's home game with Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League.

"I hope Koscielny will be okay," Emery said of the Gunners' captain. "For Sunday I don't know, but for the second leg.

"He was very tired, ran back in the second half 50 metres with the sprint but it's normal to be tired or struggling.

"I preferred to change him to give also this 10 minutes to Nacho Monreal after his small injuries to help us and to do these minutes for Laurent Koscielny."

 
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Story first published: Friday, May 3, 2019, 4:10 [IST]
Other articles published on May 3, 2019
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