MX23RW : Thursday, June 27 08:06:49| >> :600:4737458:4737458:
May 2, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Emirates Stadium
Attendance: 48,000
Arsenal
3-1
Valencia
Lacazette (18', 26'), Aubameyang (90')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Diakhaby (11')

Sokratis: 'I joined Arsenal because I would like to play in the Champions League"

Sokratis: 'I joined Arsenal because I would like to play in the Champions League
© Reuters
Gunners defender keen to return club to Champions League from next season.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos insists he is not contemplating ending the season without Champions League qualification and achieving the target he set when he joined Arsenal last summer.

The Gunners beat Valencia 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie.

Alexandre Lacazette netted a first-half brace to cancel out Mouctar Diakhaby's deserved early opener for the visitors, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang adding a third in the final minute.

While Unai Emery's side have one foot in the final, a run of three successive Premier League defeats means achieving Champions League qualification by finishing in the top four now appears unlikely.

Emery, who won the Europa League in three consecutive seasons while in charge at Sevilla, knows lifting the trophy is another route back into the continent's elite club competition.

Emery has won three Europa League titles during his managerial career.
Emery has won three Europa League titles during his managerial career (Steven Paston/PA)

That was his main task when he was appointed as Arsene Wenger's successor and Sokratis is not considering failure as an option.

"At this moment I believe and I think only this – to play in the Champions League," the summer arrival from Borussia Dortmund said.

"We can go to the final and why not win the Europa League.

"Firstly we want to to play in the Champions League. Of course I came here because I would like to play in the Champions League, I didn't come here to play in the Europa League.

"This is the point, our manager and the staff behind him help us every day, we work a lot with the training, the video, we analyse everything and I hope in the end we are right."

Having lost four of their last five Premier League games, Arsenal sit two points behind Chelsea – who are also in contention for a place in the Europa League final – with two games remaining.

Away defeats to Everton, Wolves and Leicester and a rare home loss to Crystal Palace saw Emery's side come in for heavy criticism.

Jamie Vardy scored twice as Leicester beat Arsenal 3-0 last weekend.
Jamie Vardy scored twice as Leicester beat Arsenal 3-0 last weekend (David Davies/PA)

They shipped 10 goals in those games, with Emery recently coming out to give his backing to under-fire defender Shkodran Mustafi.

Sokratis admits some of the criticism aimed at the squad has been justified but that anyone in the ranks can make mistakes and none of the players are affected psychologically by it.

"Of course, when you play at a team like Arsenal and you lose three games of course you hear critics and you have to improve," he added.

Sokratis played against Tottenham for Borussia Dortmund in last season's Champions League.
Sokratis played against Tottenham for Borussia Dortmund in last season's Champions League (Nick Potts/PA)

"We are here to improve, to give the best for the club, for the fans and for us also.

"I think that the biggest point is that we have to stay focused. We are a big family and we are all together, we stay all together. In one week, for example, (Laurent) Koscielny makes a mistake or I make a mistake or Mustafi the same, Nacho (Monreal) too.

"We are people and not robots. Of course we have to improve and we have every game to give 100 per cent and I think the critics are good to hear, to improve, but they do not touch us mentally."


Click here for more stories about Sokratis

Click here for more stories about Arsenal

Share this article now:
Unai Emery leads Arsenal training on May 1, 2019
Read Next:
Unai Emery "very proud" of Arsenal performance
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
/esi/758/0/index.html - esi:0:site:0:-p-: {0}: - :T758:-: {0}: < ! - - T  758 {0} - - >  : 
Tables

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account