Arsenal wont prioritise Premier League over Europa League Unai Emery

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LONDON — Unai Emery is not planning on replicating Arsene Wenger’s strategy of making wholesale changes for the Europa League, and knows the competition could be crucial to Arsenal’s chances of returning to the Champions League.

Emery won the Europa League three years in a row with Sevilla, and the Arsenal hierarchy are hoping he can repeat that feat with the Gunners in their second season in the competition.

They lost to Atletico Madrid in the semifinals under Wenger last season, which denied them a Champions League spot as they only finished sixth in the Premier League, and Emery said he will be taking the competition seriously from the beginning.

“My idea first isn’t to change 11 players for one competition and the next competition,” he said. “I have proven with my experience to know the best way to manage the players. Now it is very important for me to think first [about] the match against Newcastle [at the weekend], we need to win the three points and then think the same for the Europa League.

“Each match is giving us information for how we can play. Now I want to win Saturday, I want to win Thursday, next Sunday and against Brentford in the Carabao Cup. It is the reason we are looking forward to playing every match and thinking every match about the best performance.”

Arsenal take on Ukrainian side FC Vorskla next Thursday to kick off their European campaign.

While Arsenal failed last year to qualify for the Champions League via their league position or victory in the Europa League, Emery has experienced what it means for sides to depend on the latter method.

His Sevilla side won the 2015 final to secure their spot, and a year later denied Liverpool such an entry when they beat Jurgen Klopp’s side in the 2016 final.

“For Liverpool it was very important because they lost in the Premier League the top four, and they needed it to go into the Champions League. We won,” Emery said. “Manchester United also played in the Champions League through this competition.

“The last year for Arsenal it was very, very important. We lost in the semifinals to Atletico Madrid. The Europa League can help a lot. After the Champions League, the Europa League is the most important competition.

“When we opened this possibility that, when you win the Europa League, you play in the Champions League, this I think is the key to improve the interest in this competition.”