Arsenal manager Unai Emery commended his prolific duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette after combining for an impressive 48 goals this season.
The strike duo were at again on Thursday night as Arsenal booked their spot in the Europa League final. Aubameyang netted a hat-trick and Lacazette scored in the second half as the Gunners defeated Valencia 4-2 in the second leg of their semi-final tie.
Following an aggregate victory of 7-3 over Valencia, Arsenal are now just one win away from Champions League qualification.
Aubameyang and Lacazette were once again the centre of attention after tormenting the Valencia defence. The pair have now combined for 48 goals, with no other Arsenal player being able to contribute towards more than six.
But, for Emery, the most pleasing aspect of Aubameyang and Lacazette’s performance was their defensive diligence.
“They are very good strikers, but I am proud of them in how they worked defensively,” said Emery on Arsenal.com.
“We needed that today, the big players can be good strikers but when their commitment is like today, working defensively to help us, it’s amazing.
“After their goal, our attacking moments were coming because our positioning and other players can create chances for them to score. But I think it’s the work of every player and they did it perfectly.”
Chelsea, who defeated Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties in the other semi-final, will meet Arsenal in the Europa League final in Baku on May 29.
Emery’s side know victory is a must for Champions League football next season given that their Premier League top-four hopes are effectively over. With just one game left, Arsenal are three points adrift of fourth-place Tottenham.
“We had the confidence and we were confident because we lost Sunday in the Premier League in a game needed to be in the top four. We knew it was going to be difficult but we had two ways,” said Emery.
“This possibility after the Premier League loss, we took it strongly in our mind to prepare, to focus and to work hard to make this final.
“We can be proud of the players and of the work of our supporters who are here today with us and it’s not finished, this success.
“It’s one step more to play the final. We are happy but also, we know it’s going to continue to be difficult. But it’s not easy to play finals.”
Arsenal will next take on Burnley for their final Premier League match of the season on Sunday.