Press conference

Top-four finish is ‘very difficult now’

Unai Emery says it will be “very difficult” to finish in the top four after our third straight defeat in the Premier League.

We went down 3-0 at Leicester on Sunday at the end of a tough week or so that also saw us ship three goals to Crystal Palace and Wolves.


Our head coach had a plan for our visit to the King Power Stadium - but that was hampered by a red card for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.


“Our gameplan was to be strong in our defensive moments and in our attacking moments, to take our chances, attacking their back four,” said Emery.


“We started very well, we controlled the match with good positioning and defensively with not many problems. They controlled the possession but we were good on the pitch and we wanted to grow up in 90 minutes to take our possibility to win today, being competitive in 90 minutes and also being strong in our mentality.


“The second yellow card gave us a lot of problems to continue with our gameplan with more efficiency. Continuing our idea with one player less was going to be difficult. It changed a lot, this red card.

“The players worked very well and I’m proud of them. With one player less, we continued our gameplan, trying to be together, defensively strong, and in the attacking moments to take our moments. The first goal has conditioned the result. When we were better on the pitch with one player less, they had a counter-attack and scored the second one and finished the match.”


Our best chance of a Champions League place may now lie in winning the Europa League, so all eyes turn to Thursday’s semi-final first leg against Valencia.


“We are going to think about Valencia in the Europa League,” said Emery. “We have a big ambition in this competition. It’s a semi-final and it’s going to be difficult also. Then we play on Sunday against Brighton, and we need to win this match.

“At the beginning of the season we knew it was going to be very difficult, and today it’s the same.


“Our confidence can go up, can go down. But the most important is to be clear in our minds and our way. Our way is to think of this semi-final and prepare for the match in the best possible way.”

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