By hussenah • 15th Mar 2019 • 32 views • 6 comments

Arsenal manager Unai Emery hailed his side’ s ability to cope under pressure after they came back from a 3 - 1 loss in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie.

They beat French side Rennes 3 - 0 on Thursday to advance 4 - 3 on aggregate to the quarter- finals of Europe ’ s second - tier club competition .

Pierre - Emerick Aubameyang struck either side of an Ainsley Maitland-Niles goal as the North London side joined local rivals Chelsea.

Arsenal became only the second team in Europa League history to win a tie after losing the first leg 3 - 1 .

“ This comeback was very difficult , but I think the reaction was very good from every player, ” Emery told reporters.

“ We can be proud of our players today because it was a very difficult week — (Manchester ) United on Sunday and today against Rennes . ”

Arsenal’ s 2 - 0 home English Premier League win over Manchester United on Sunday kept alive their hopes of a top - four finish and a place in the UEFA Champions League next season .

“ Playing under pressure is good , growing up under pressure — with each player playing like a team and feeling the difficult moments to give us our best performance , ” Emery said .

Arsenal have missed out on UEFA Champions League football for the last two seasons , and their poor away record remains a big concern .

Although they have no more top - six teams to face in the EPL this season , they play more away than home fixtures .

Nevertheless, Emery said the UEFA Champions League , Europe ’ s premier club competition, was not his only focus.

The Europa League — which he won three times in a row from 2014 to 2016 as manager of Sevilla — also provides the chance for silverware.

“ I said to the players today ( Thursday) , I ’ m excited ( about ) this competition , but it’ s exciting not only for the possibility to go to the UEFA Champions League , but also because it’ s one title , ” he said .

He also took note of surprising results elsewhere .

“ Today (Thursday ), Inter (Milan ) are out , Sevilla are out — a big surprise . And the last teams , they are all very important, and it’ s going to be very difficult , ” Emery said .

For his side , the focus must always be simple.

“ We are going to think the same before every match . The next match is the most important for us , ” Emery said . (Reuters /NAN )

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