Unai Emery is never one to get carried away following a good win and last night was no different despite his team beating Valencia 3-1 and taking a huge step towards the Europa League final.
Two goals from Alex Lacazette and a critical third from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 90th minute means we go to the Mestalla next week with a two-goal advantage, however, our opponents do have that crucial away goal and that has not escaped the manager which is probably why he reckons the tie remains in the balance.
Speaking to the media after the game Emery said he was happy, that he was proud of the supporters and players but conceded that the second leg will be difficult.
“We can be happy today” Emery said
“Also, we can be proud of our supporters because here in Emirates we found this support for us in the 90 minutes”
“I’m also proud of the players because after 1-0 it’s not easy to be calm and come back with the result against this team. It’s not normal that Valencia concede three goals, especially after starting at 1-0 because they are a very, very good team on the transition. That’s the reason I am proud of our work today. But the second leg is going to be very difficult”
Emery also made it abundantly clear that we will not be sitting on our lead, that we will be going for goal and attempt to do in Spain what we did in Italy in the previous game against Napoli and that as far as he is concerned the approach to the game will be as if it was still a 50/50 game.
“Yes, we are going to prepare for the match thinking that this round is 50/50 for both” he said
“We need also to play there thinking to win, thinking to score, thinking to defend well and thinking also to take our moments in attack. We can control with the ball and possession, but we don’t know because they are going to feel strong with their supporters there”
I think Emery has it basically right in his attitude but do disagree that the game is 50/50.
A two-goal margin does shift the tie in our favour, of course, with our defence Valencia are more than capable of putting two goals past us but I am confident that our frontline is just as capable of finding the back of the net at least once.
We cannot be overconfident and must respect our opponents but we should not downplay the result of last night’s game either, we did very well and we are in control of the tie now.
If we fail to make the final we will have no one else to blame but ourselves.