Unai Emery was unimpressed by Arsenal’s away goal after what he described as a ‘deserved’ Villarreal win in the Europa League.
Unai Emery bemoaned the referee’s decision to award Arsenal a penalty, which cost Villarreal a valuable away goal.
The Yellow Submarine claimed a 2-1 win over Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday night.
Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol’s goals handed Villarreal a comfortable half-time lead. All seemed set for a solid victory, especially once Dani Ceballos’ second-half red card reduced Arsenal to 10-men for the final 33 minutes of normal time.
But when Bukayo Saka tripped over Trigueros’ ankle inside the box, it led the referee, Artur Soares Dias, to award Arsenal a penalty. Nicolas Pepe then stepped up to fire in a crucial away goal in Spain.
“The penalty is not a penalty,” Emery told BT Sport. “We deserved this victory.”
The former Gunners boss will return to the Emirates next Thursday for the second leg on the semi-final tie.
Emery, who led Sevilla to a remarkable three Europa League titles in a row between 2013 and 2016, admitted he aimed for more goals from Villarreal in the second-half following a promising opening period.
“We had chances to score the third goal, and that was our plan,” Emery added.
“We will play there with the same plan, to control and show our personality.
“We developed a plan [today] to take the victory and achieved it. It’s a victory, and it allows us to continue in the second leg. We have to go there to score a goal.”