Arsenal head coach Unai Emery targets top spot in Europa League group after securing qualification
Last Updated: 09/11/18 12:00am
Unai Emery said a point against Sporting Lisbon was not enough for Arsenal in their quest to win their Europa League group.
The Gunners secured qualification for the last 32 with a 0-0 draw against Sporting Lisbon at the Emirates, in a game where Emery fielded a mixed-strength team including Emile Smith Rowe and Carl Jenkinson.
But after keeping their unbeaten start in Europe alive with a point against their Portuguese visitors, Emery was left dissatisfied with the result.
"The point isn't enough for us but at the moment our target is to be first in this group," he said. "At the moment we are first and we will continue in our way for that."
Arsenal had already beaten Thursday's opponents in this season's tournament, triumphing 1-0 in Portugal last month, and Emery said the draw at the Emirates had demonstrated the significance of securing that prior win in Lisbon.
"Congratulations to Sporting," he said. "They are a big competitive team. We needed to be calm to create chances to score, but it wasn't easy on the pitch. It was difficult to create big chances. We did create but it wasn't enough to win the game.
"We worked well with very good commitment in a difficult game. The game in Lisbon was also difficult but we won and now we can say those three points were very important."
In addition to a troubling injury suffered by Danny Welbeck, confirmed by Emery as a leg break, Stefan Lichsteiner was also forced from the pitch with a hamstring complaint.
Emery said after the game: "Lichtsteiner's injury changed our idea on the match, we wanted to change for Eddie Nketiah and give another chance for the striker.
"But when he had the injury we needed to play with a right-back which was the reason we played with Ainsley [Maitland-Niles]."