Unai Emery issues rallying cry to Emirates crowd for Arsenal's Europa League clash with Rennes
By Declan Olley
Last Updated: 13/03/19 11:14pm
Unai Emery has called on Arsenal fans to create a "big atmosphere" at the Emirates on Thursday night to help them progress past Rennes in the Europa League.
Arsenal will have to overturn a two-goal deficit against the Ligue 1 side if they are to reach the Europa League quarter-finals after a 3-1 first leg defeat in France.
But Emery believes the Arsenal home fans have a huge role to play in a potential comeback against a Rennes side who are eighth in Ligue 1.
The Arsenal head coach said: "We need to be together and create a big atmosphere at the Emirates with our supporters to help us to do the best performance possible.
"We need to play with high emotion with our supporters but we need to take clever decisions on the pitch with our mind.
"These are both important issues tomorrow that we need to control in 90 minutes and maybe more.
"We need a big atmosphere tomorrow to create a very emotional moment in the 90 minutes with our supporters.
"We need to be clever in the 90 minutes with fresh minds and very calm to take the best decisions."
Emery would not, however, be drawn on Rennes forward Hatem Ben Arfa's behaviour in their first leg loss.
The French forward admitted he laughed at Emery - his former PSG boss whom he had a strained relationship with - during Rennes' win, but the Spaniard instead chose to praise Ben Arfa before Thursday's second leg.
Emery said: "He's a very good player and we respect him a lot.
"My focus is to prepare for the match against Rennes and the players like his quality. I respect him a lot."
Arsenal have striker Alexandre Lacazette available for Thursday's second leg after his ban for a red card in the first leg of Arsenal's round-of-32 match at BATE Borisov was reduced.
But Emery will be without defender Sokratis Papastathopoulous who was sent off in the first leg against Rennes while midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a doubt for the second leg.