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Unai Emery "excited" by prospect of winning Europa League with Arsenal

:Headline: Unai Emery 'excited' by prospect of winning Europa League with Arsenal:
Gunners reached the quarter-finals with a 4-3 aggregate win over Rennes.
PA | 6mo

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery insists winning the Europa League is more than just qualifying for the Champions League as he targets a trophy during his first season in charge.

The Gunners became the sixth and final Premier League club to qualify for the quarter-finals of this season's continental competitions as they overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit to beat Rennes on Thursday night.

A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace and just a second Arsenal goal for Ainsley Maitland-Niles secured a 3-0 victory which sent Emery's side through 4-3 on aggregate.

"I needed a mask which represents me," he told BT Sport.

"It's the Black Panther and in Africa, in Gabon, we call the national team the Black Panthers of Gabon... It represents me."

Rennes had made the most of facing 10 men for 50 minutes of the first leg following the dismissal of Sokratis Papastathopoulos – turning a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 win.

While Sokratis was forced to sit out the second leg, Arsenal were able to call on Alexandre Lacazette after his three-match ban for a red card in the previous round was reduced to two games on appeal and, having already served both of those games, so took his place in the side.

Rennes boss Julien Stephan questioned that decision – as well as another possible sending off for Lacazette in north London and Aubameyang being offside for the crucial second Arsenal goal.

"On the offside, it was very clearly an injustice, it was an error," he said.

"That goal changed a lot of things. Regarding the Lacazette decision, the commission decided that his elbow against BATE was only worth a two-game ban.

Rennes manager Julien Stephan was unhappy with Lacazette's availability (Nick Potts/PA)

"There was a tackle by Lacazette in the first half which was borderline, for which he got a yellow.

"Then he made a challenge on (Ramy) Bensebaini which was also borderline, but the decision didn't go our way.

"There were quite a few things that went against us over the past couple of days. It's a learning curve for a club of our level, we don't have the power of Arsenal."

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