Unai Emery insists he will not follow Arsene Wenger’s lead by treating the Europa League as an inferior competition, with the Spaniard looking to win it for a fourth time.
Emery, who led Sevilla to three successive European titles, is planning to field a strong side when Arsenal kick off their campaign against Ukraine’s Vorskla Poltava on Thursday.
In the group opener against Cologne last season, Wenger made nine changes to his starting line-up to indicate where his priorities lie. Emery believes that is the wrong approach, and although he wants to compete in the Premier League, he will not do it at the expense of the Europa League.
‘I have proven with my experience to know the best way to manage the players,’ Emery said as his side prepare to face Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle at St James’ Park on Saturday.
‘Now, it is very important for me to think first about the match against Newcastle. We need to win the three points, then think the same for the Europa League.
‘My idea first isn’t to change 11 players for one competition and the next competition. The Europa League can help a lot.’
As Sevilla boss, Emery beat Benitez’s Real Madrid two years ago — the only time the coaches have faced each other.
‘Benitez was the first of the Spanish coaches to be working here and is very experienced here,’ Emery said.
‘He is a very competitive coach and Newcastle, with the support they get in their own stadium, are very strong.’