Emery: Iwobi and Mkhitaryan 'deserved to play today'
- Arsenal advanced to the quarter-finals of the Europa League following a 3-0 second-leg win over Rennes.
- The manager claims the Nigerian and the Armenian wingers were a backup plan if the game went to overtime.
- The Spaniard highlights that the whole squad is important, not just the first XI.
In his post-match press conference, Unai Emery explained his tactical decisions against Rennes in detail. The manager says he had two different strategies for the game - one for the 90 minutes and another for overtime, should it happen.
"We decided also one plan for 90 minutes because we knew that we needed 90 minutes and maybe more, because at 3-0 if they had scored we were going to play extra time."
Mkhitaryan is a completely different player man, that injury has rejuvenated him.— Arsenal (@ffarsenalfc) March 14, 2019
The Spaniard also admits that Iwobi and Mkhitaryan have been playing well recently and warrant a place in the starting XI but due to tactical reasons the head coach thought they'd make a bigger impact of the bench.
"I think Iwobi and Micki, they deserved before the match to play today, and when they support us for 30 minutes, changing with a good work from Mesut and good work from Lacazette, they helped us a lot.
"These 10 minutes after this change, their impact was a good impact with the goal and creating two chances."
Absolutely no coincidence that as soon as Iwobi and Mkhitaryan are on, Kolasinac gets an assist.— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) March 14, 2019
Thus, Emery reiterated what he has been trying to say all season - every squad member is valuable, not just the players in the starting XI. It's great when a team's first XI is filled with talented players, but it's even better if the squad has actual depth.
"I think we need every player. Today the first 11 were important but also the other players."