Xhaka: Emery's Europa League past is not important - it's down to the players

Granit Xhaka Arsenal 2018/19
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The Arsenal boss won the competition three seasons in a row while in charge of Sevilla and has led the Gunners to the semi-finals this term

Granit Xhaka believes Unai Emery’s past success in the Europa League will count for little when Arsenal travel to Valencia next week for the second leg of their semi-final.

Emery won the Europa League in three successive seasons while in charge of Sevilla, and with Arsenal taking a 3-1 lead to the Mestalla for their second leg this coming Thursday, the Spaniard is well on course to lift the trophy for the fourth time in his successful career.

It would be an impressive achievement, especially in his first season in north London, but Xhaka does not believe what has gone on in the past will have much of an impact on Arsenal’s most recent attempt of European success.

“If you have a coach like this you can take a lot of experience from him,” said the Switzerland international. “But the past is the past and I don't think it's so important.

“We spoke before the game [first leg] about his experience but in the end we had to show it on the pitch.”

Xhaka added: “It was good to win 3-1, we wanted a clean sheet but we didn't start well. We showed the big character in this team once more to come back and win against a big team.

“We had not the best experience last year [in the semi-final]. We played very well here against Atletico but didn't win.

Granit Xhaka Arsenal 2018/19

“Away games are always difficult against teams like this but 3-1 is a good result and we hope we can score one there, then after we're in the final."

Arsenal went into Thursday’s game on the back of three straight defeats in the Premier League, a losing streak which has seen them drop out of the top four with just two games of the campaign remaining.

The Gunners now need Chelsea to drop points to have any chance of finishing in the Champions League spots, and even then they realistically need to win both of their remaining games, against Brighton on Sunday and then at Burnley next weekend.

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Given Emery’s side’s dreadful away form, that is far from a foregone conclusion - but Xhaka is adamant that there is still hope.

He said: “If you see the results from the last week in the Premier League of course we are not happy but we still have a chance.

“Everything isn't in our hands, what is in our hands is the Europa League. We want to finish our season back in the Champions League.”