Unai Emery insists winning the Europa League is about more than just qualifying for the Champions League as he targets a trophy during his first season in charge at the Emirates Stadium.
The Arsenal head coach is more qualified than most to discuss the merits of the Europa League having won the competition in three successive years during his reign as Sevilla boss.
The Gunners became the sixth and final Premier League club to qualify for the quarter-finals of this season’s continental competitions as they overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit to beat Rennes on Thursday night.
A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace and just a second Arsenal goal for Ainsley Maitland-Niles secured a 3-0 victory which sent Emery’s side through 4-3 on aggregate.
They join Chelsea in Friday’s quarter-final draw, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United all in the last eight of the Champions League.
While success in the Europa League is seen by many as, first and foremost, a route back into the premier European club competition, Emery knows it offers much more than that.
“The Champions League is very important but the Europa League grew up a lot and now is giving every team the possibility to play in the Champions League,” he said.
“In the domestic league, like here, we have six teams playing to be in the top four. Two teams are going out and the Europa League is giving us a big opportunity also to take one way to go to the Champions League.
“And also, it’s one title. I said to the players today, I am excited about this competition. It’s not just because you can get to the Champions League through this competition.
“It’s also because it’s one title and I think we can feel the possibility to win one title, doing this way with a difficult moment like today and playing also against big teams.”
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