Unai Emery has lauded Arsenal strike duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for their ‘amazing’ commitment to defensive duties in the 4-2 win over Valencia on Thursday.
Emery’s team survived an early scare after Kevin Gameiro’s opener but his strikers’ contributions – with Aubameyang bagging a treble – ensured the Gunners came up top in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final tie.
However, their efforts off the ball was a highlight for the Spanish tactician, who will eye his fourth Europa League title when Arsenal face Chelsea in the final in Baku on May 29.
“Yes, really they are very good strikers but I am proud of them in how they worked defensively,” Emery said in the post-match conference.
“We needed that today, the big players can be good strikers but when their commitment is like today, working defensively to help us, it’s amazing.
“After their goal, our attacking moments were coming because our positioning and other players can create chances for them to score. But I think it’s the work of every player and they did it perfectly.”
On how proud he is of Aubameyang, who now has 29 goals this season, Emery said: “Every player congratulated him and before the match I think we spoke in the hotel, everybody, about our moments, about our experiences, about being together and how we can take the best performance collectively and individually.
“They made that and after the match congratulations because every player gave us all they can do in 90 minutes and after, individually, we can also speak about some players.
“Aubameyang for the goals, Lacazette for another goal but I think we worked very well and this work is for being proud of them and also remembering our supporters at home.
“We played last week and they were full in the stadium with us. Today they are coming here to support us and I think we can be proud of each single player and each single supporters.”
Aubameyang and Lacazette have now scored a combined 48 goals in all competitions this season.
Before the Europa League final date, they will hope to help Arsenal finish the Premier League season on a high, with Burnley visiting the Emirates Stadium in Sunday’s finale.