Stéphan: 'A huge chance to grow'
Stade Rennais FC boss Julien Stéphan admitted that his side were out-played in their 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal; star forward Hatem Ben Arfa was focused on the excellent vibes in Rennes as the club went further in Europe than ever before.
Thursday, 14 February, 2019
UEFA Europa League Round of 16, second leg
Emirates Stadium, London
Arsenal FC 3-0 Stade Rennais FC (Arsenal through 4-3 on aggregate)
Unai Emery (Arsenal FC coach): "This comeback was very difficult, but I think the reaction was very good from every player. We can be proud of our players today because it was a very difficult week - Manchester United on Sunday and today against Rennes. Arsenal's 2-0 home Premier League win over Manchester United on Sunday kept alive their hopes of a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League next season. Playing under pressure is good, growing up under pressure - with each player playing like a team and feeling the difficult moments to give us our best performance."
Julien Stéphan (Stade Rennais FC coach): "We were bested in terms of intensity. We knew this Arsenal team would attack hard, and we prepared for that, but we were still caught out in the challenges, the speed of the game and in too many other areas in the first half. The game was beyond our reach in the first half. Arsenal deserved the win and the qualification. Now we need to process the defeat and analyse things well, but in any case congratulations go to the players for their eye-catching, remarkable run in the competition that ended against a better team - who we caused real problems last week. I'm not sure whether qualification slipped through our fingers tonight or last week; perhaps if we had scored another goal at home it would have been different. But we can't rewrite history and this run has given everyone a huge chance to grow."
Hatem Ben Arfa (Stade Rennais FC playmaker): "We're disappointed, but we're focusing on the positives from these matches: the fans who supported us, the excitement in the city. It's infuriating to crash out; we would have liked to go further. Tonight we were knocked out, but we're enjoying the positives."