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The Gunners trail Villarreal 2-1 in their semi-final, but have an away goal and boosted confidence heading back to Emirates Stadium

Pablo Mari has set Arsenal the challenge of being at “full gas from minute zero” in the return leg of their Europa League semi-final showdown with Villarreal.

The Gunners trail 2-1 on aggregate following a difficult evening in Spain that saw them fall two goals down inside 29 minutes and have Dani Ceballos sent off.

Nicolas Pepe snatched them a lifeline from the penalty spot, with an away goal now in the bag heading back to Emirates Stadium.

What has been said?

Discussing what the Gunners need to do in order to land themselves a shot at major silverware, Mari told the club’s official website: “I think it’s not a really bad result thinking about that we’re 2-0 down with one player less, I think a really good reaction from the team.

“For me I think for me we don’t have to wait to go into that situation to react. I think we have to learn about that and we have to put all the effort starting from minute zero next week to go to the final.

“I don’t know [why we made a sluggish start]. At the end you’re on the pitch and I try to help everybody, but we did some mistakes and I think this is key because they like to play football and they know when you do a mistake to go on that side and take the goals. So at the end we have to learn from that.

“They only had two chances and scored two goals, we have two and we scored one. At the end, semi-finals and quarters can be decided in the boxes, in attacking and in defence, and at the end they had more efficiency than us today and we have to change that [next] Thursday.

“We have to go full gas from minute zero and go with everything to win the game.”

The bigger picture

Arsenal are putting all of their eggs in the Europa League basket this season. Ongoing struggles for consistency have Mikel Arteta’s side sat 10th in the Premier League table, eight points adrift of the top six with only five games left.

Any hopes of having continental competition being back on the agenda for next term now rest on landing a trophy.

Overcoming Villarreal and going on to win the Europa League would offer the Gunners a route into the Champions League.

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