Arsenal boss Unai Emery got confirmation that his side couldn’t break through to the top four in the Premier League despite a 3-1 win at Burnley — and then switched his focus to the upcoming Europa League final against Chelsea.
A victory against the Blues in Baku, Azerbaijan, at the end of the month would give the Gunners a Champions League spot; a place so sought after for all the attraction it brings in terms of luring top-class players to the club as well as the increased revenue.
The triumph at Turf Moor came in a routine manner for the much-changed visitors yet the three points claimed in the Lancashire sunshine wasn’t enough to get ahead of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who earned a point with a 2-2 draw in the final game of the Premier League campaign.
There was an award on show for the Reds, though, in the shape of the Golden Boot for hotshot striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who hit a double which meant he shared the top scorer gong with Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Young goal-getter Eddie Nketiah poached a third goal at the death with the score at 2-1 against Sean Dyce’s side, giving the win a bit of gloss.
And although the league position wasn’t enough for Emery, reflecting on the game and the season that has all but ended — apart from that showdown with their London rivals — said it was a case of upwards and onwards.
The Spanish coach told the club’s official website: “Yes, it gives us 70 points — not enough for the top four but we are progressing and we work on being consistent. We can’t be 100 per cent happy but today and all the season, the players worked well to do our process of improving and to be closer to the top four. We finished a very big distance behind Liverpool and Manchester City, but closer to Chelsea and Tottenham.
“Our idea is to continue with our process. Individually, we can take some objectives. It’s good that Aubameyang won the Golden Boot. Every player works for the team and to help each other to give their capacity. Aubameyang is our striker with Alex Lacazette and Nketiah, who has the possibility to improve with us. We can be pleased with him.”
Now Emery and his squad face a lay-off until they are back in action, but the manager says there are no plans to rest on their laurels and that more hard work is around the corner.
He added: “We prepare like when it’s an international break. We will have two days off and for the first week we will not be thinking about the final. We will train three days in London and then next weekend we will have it off and then we will start on Tuesday in London with three days training preparing with all of our focus on the final. We will go to Baku three or four days before the final, Saturday I think, and prepare for the match over the last three training sessions. It’s the same as when we have an international break.”