Europa League: Arsenal boss Unai Emery 'positive' over future

Unai Emery
Unai Emery won the Europa League three years in succession as coach of Sevilla

Manager Unai Emery says "a lot of players" want to play for Arsenal despite the club missing out on Champions League qualification.

A 4-1 defeat by Chelsea in the Europa League final means Arsenal missed out on Europe's premier competition for a third successive season.

"We are calm and I am positive for our future," said 47-year-old Emery.

"We are a big team and Arsenal are a big name in the football world. A lot of players want to play here."

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Arsenal still a big name in the football world - Emery

In the Spaniard's first season after succeeding long-serving manager Arsene Wenger, Arsenal improved from a sixth-place finish to fifth in the Premier League and went one step further by reaching the Europa League final.

Olivier Giroud and Pedro gave Chelsea a two-goal lead in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Eden Hazard struck either side of Alex Iwobi's fine effort for Arsenal. All the goals came in the space of 23 second-half minutes as Arsenal's defence unravelled.

"Chelsea deserved to win," said former Sevilla and Paris St-Germain boss Emery.

"We got to the box with good options and chances to score but the first goal changed the game.

"We are in one process and we need to be strong in our way. The idea at the start (of the season) was to get more competitive as a team, get closer to the other teams, and we did that.

"It is not enough yet, but next season we have to continue in our mind.

"I don't know about transfers for next year but the club is working. We have a lot of players with the possibility to improve - a lot of young players."

Although Mesut Ozil signed a new deal last year to become Arsenal's highest earner, fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey has left for Juventus after the club withdrew a contract offer.

Striker Danny Welbeck will also leave at the end of his contract this summer, while goalkeeper Petr Cech played his last game against Chelsea before retiring.

"I'm proud of the way I played because when you play your last career game in the final there is a lot of pressure and speculation," said 37-year-old former Chelsea keeper Cech.

"We worked so hard all year to finish with nothing. This group of players do not deserve it because of how much work has been done this season.

"It is easy to say we finished empty-handed but I can assure everyone that the work we have done will mean this team comes back much stronger next year."

'It's a big summer for Emery' - analysis

Former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon on BBC Radio 5 Live

Unai Emery has got a huge job ahead of him. If you said at the start of the season 'get in the top four', that would have been a huge success for them.

They have failed on that front, but the underlying work that Emery has to do is based on them without the ball.

All the problems seem to jump out when you get to the back end of the team, and it's not just about the personnel - it's about how they play.

Emery is still unsure over five at the back or a back four. He has chopped and changed all season. That won't change until you have recruitment that stabilises the back four.

He needs to be given time. He needs to be given money for recruitment. How much money and what recruitment he does is his next big test. It's a big summer for him.

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin

If Arsenal won, think of the money you would get from being in the Champions League next season.

Think of the kudos from being able to bring in players that won't come in for a Europa League season.

This 90 minutes was massively important for Arsenal. It might affect the team for 18-24 months going forward. That's hard to take.

Former Newcastle and West Ham manager Alan Pardew

Arsenal may be better off shipping a couple of good players out and looking for three or four characters.

The great Arsenal teams that I remember had character and when that first goal went in I didn't really see a lot of it.

That's where Unai Emery needs to juggle the squad. One or two need to be moved on, maybe even Mesut Ozil.

If you can bring in three or four characters it might be better than one big signing.

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