LONDON – With a crucial Europa League tie in Valencia on Thursday, Arsenal manager Unai Emery has urged his crestfallen squad to forget the disappointment of missing out on a Premier League top-four finish.
After yesterday’s draw against Brighton, Emery admitted his side have fallen short of their Premier League target – barring a miraculous turn of events on the final day of the season.
His players looked dejected as they went on a lap of honour after their last home game of the season.
“I think they will switch off,” Emery said. “We are going to be strong in our mentality to prepare the best possible match on Thursday.
“The Premier League is our first target, and we didn’t get the position we wanted, we couldn’t be in the top four.
“But we play on Thursday in the second leg, and this is a title to play for and a way to go to the Champions League.”
Aaron Ramsey said a tearful farewell to the Emirates Stadium as he was given a guard of honour by his team-mates.
The Wales midfielder was emotional as he said goodbye to supporters who had chanted his name continuously during the lap of honour. “It’s been a hell of a journey,” said 28-year-old Ramsey, who due to a hamstring injury will not play again for Arsenal ahead of his summer move to Juventus.
“So much has happened. When I look back, you can see how much it means to me. I’ve spent so many years here.”
For 11 years of service, for 369 appearances, for 64 goals, for 62 assists, for those Wembley winners, for coming back from that injury to achieve what you have with us, for EVERYTHING you’ve given to this club, we just want to say…— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 5, 2019
THANK YOU, @aaronramsey! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/EuU6gQ5U1q
Ramsey joined Arsenal in 2008. “I arrived here a boy at 17 years old, and I leave here a man, so I’m very grateful for the opportunity here.
“Obviously I’m really excited for the new challenge, the new chapter in my life. But today is all about this, where I grew up, so I just want to take this in.
“There have been highs and lows, but the fans have stuck by me, so I’m very grateful.”
Emery has said that Danny Welbeck will leave Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of the month. The forward hasn’t played since sustaining a serious ankle injury against Sporting Lisbon in November.
At the time, Sportsmail reported that Welbeck wouldn’t play for the club again – and Emery yesterday confirmed it.
“I spoke to the club, the decision is he is going to leave,” he said.Daily Mail