Unai Emery believes Arsenal need to strengthen to return to Champions League

Unai Emery has admitted Arsenal will need new recruits to return to the Champions League.

Arsenal were thumped 4-1 by an Eden Hazard-inspired Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku, leaving the Emirates Stadium men facing a third straight season away from Europe’s top table.

The Gunners boss admitted failing to qualify for next term’s Champions League could limit the club’s transfer options, but backed his men to step up next term.

Unai Emery
Unai Emery expects no Champions League football will have an effect on his budget (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“I think it’s not the moment to speak about that, we need to speak with the club and the players,” said Emery.

“We need to take one step more in our way, but our idea is to continue to carry on our improvement with the young players that arrived last year.

“Maybe some players need to leave for us to take a new way.

“But it’s not the moment to speak about that. I am very proud of our work.

“I think the players did all we can to achieve our target, and we are closer to the other teams, but at the moment it’s not enough.

“We can continue with the same team but also some players will come and help us get better.”

Asked if failing to qualify for the Champions League will dent Arsenal’s recruitment drive, Emery said: “Maybe, but I think we are a big team, and I think Arsenal is a big name in the football world and a lot of players want to play here.

Chelsea v Arsenal – UEFA Europa League – Final – Olympic Stadium
Chelsea turned it on in the second half against Arsenal (Steven Paston/PA)

“We are in one process and we need in this process to be strong in our idea, strong in our way, and that’s the reason why we started this season to get more competitive like a team, get closer to the other teams.

“And we’ve done that.

“At the moment it’s not enough for our target, but the next week, the next year, we’ll continue with that in mind.

“The club is working to improve also and to take all we need to improve and to do our way.

“And also we have a lot of players with the possibility to improve and grow up with us.

Chelsea v Arsenal – UEFA Europa League – Final – Olympic Stadium
Alex Iwobi’s strike was all Arsenal could muster (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“I am positive for our future, creating our way and getting better in our way.

“We have good, big players with experience and some young players.

“Next year with this experience behind us we’ll take even more.

“I think this year we’ve used to be closer to the other teams.

“But next year we need the same players, the same idea, maybe also to add some new players to give us some situations we can improve.

“But it’s the same way as this year, just to take one more step.

“A lot of players who have played their first year with us can get better and give more in performance for us.”

Chelsea v Arsenal – UEFA Europa League – Final – Olympic Stadium
Eden Hazard was impressive in what might be his final game for Chelsea (Steven Paston/PA)

Eden Hazard’s two goals and an assist floored the Gunners, who had looked comfortable in a goalless first half but crumbled after the interval.

“The first half we had some chances, but we didn’t concede many chances for them,” said Emery.

“The second half the idea was the same, carry on our gameplan, take our moment to take the chances to score. But they scored first.

“And the first goal was very important in this match, because after that you need to play calmly, but we made some mistakes and they have very good players to use these mistakes and take chances to score.

“We were I think in the match until they scored the second goal, and after that it was not possible.

“I want to say to all the supporters, we are in this process.

“The first target was not achieved, but I think we are closer, first in the Premier League, and in this competition.

“Next year is a big challenge to take one more step on the way.

“But really today we are disappointed, but in general I think we made a new step improving and being competitive, to take one more step next year.”