Rennes vs Arsenal: Unai Emery says fatigue won’t be an excuse for his side

Unai Emery says fatigue will not be an excuse when his side travel to Rennes in the Europa League on Thursday.

The Gunners boss faced the media today (Wednesday) in the build-up to the clash and spoke about a range of issues, including Hatem Ben Arfa, having time to prepare for the match, and Alexandre Lacazette having his band extended to three games.

Despite Rennes having a full week extra to prepare for the tie, Emery refused to use the scheduling as an excuse.

Here’s what he had to say:

Emery on playing against Ben Arfa…
“He’s a very good player and he’s playing with big performances. We know they have good organisation and good players – and one is Ben Arfa. We need tomorrow to control his quality and his skills because in the two matches they played against Betis he played very well with big performances. But it’s not only Ben Arfa, they have Sarr, Grenier, Bourigeaud, Andre and some good defensive players. It’s all the players. But mostly, Ben Arfa is very important for them.”

Emery on Rennes having eight extra days to prepare – and managers asking for more help from the Premier League regarding fixture scheduling…
“I respect them. The Premier League decided the schedules for our matches and our intention is to prepare for the matches with the [time] we can have. But above all, the habit is to play a lot of matches during the weeks. It’s not an excuse. If you ask me if I prefer sometimes more time to prepare one match? Maybe yes. But for example in this match, we don’t have an excuse because we’ve had time to prepare well. We have these habits and we have the players to share and find combinations with the players that can play tomorrow, with a big performance, fresh players and with big energy. “Then we rest, and on Sunday also we can play with some of the same players that play tomorrow, and some more with fresh energy to give the best performances and get us the best out of the next two matches.”

Emery on Rennes…
“For us, first it’s respect to them. They played very well again Real Betis in the two games, and they deserve to be here. They have very good organisation defensively and offensively. They have very good players and we know for them it’s an important moment, and for us it’s the same.

“We’ll prepare for the match thinking the best of them, wanting to stop their good players, but to impose our gameplan with our capacity and quality. We know we need to play two matches with big performances [to go through].”

Emery on the team he’s likely to play…
“It’s not an excuse for us. We have the habit to play a lot of matches week by week. We played Saturday, rested Sunday and started to work on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Tomorrow I think we are going to be OK to play every player. For us it’s a very important match and we need to do [our job] individually and collectively.”

Emery on Auba and how he dealt with his penalty miss in the north London derby…
“It’s one action in 90 minutes. Creating chances is very important and he created this penalty [by being fouled] and after he had the opportunity to score. For me, I said after the match the most important thing is to create chances, and after we need to create more to be more effective. For me the penalty was one action in the match. I was positive before and I’m confident today that if the player takes a penalty again with big confidence he can score.

Emery on Lacazette’s European ban being extended to three games…
“Maybe it can be a surprise and maybe not, it depends, but we know usually when you have a red card, you can take a minimum one and maximum three [game ban]. I spoke to him and he said he asked for one match and in the worst position, I said to him in my opinion it was three. It is between one and three for the suspension. But we have players and we have confidence for other players to play without Lacazette in this match.”

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