March 9, 2019 - 13:06 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Arsenal boss Unai Emery said after the Gunner's 3:1 Europa League loss to Rennes that Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan played well, Metro reports.
Emery revealed Mkhitaryan’s recent form convinced him he was capable of filling in as an emergency right-back during last night’s shock defeat against Rennes.
Arsenal made the perfect start Thursday, March 7 night through Alex Iwobi’s fourth minute goal, but capitulated after the sending off of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and must now overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit to reach the Europa League quarter finals.
Mkhitaryan, who played a key role in the recent wins over Bournemouth and Southampton, was asked to play in a more defensive role in the second half, with Emery ignoring the opportunity to introduce Ainsley Maitlaind-Niles who has regularly filled in at full-back this season.
Explaining his decision, Emery said: "Well, first and mostly, because we were coming after the last match in Southampton with a very big performance like this full-back.
"And after this red card, first I wanted to keep the positioning with the players because in the second half we needed fresh players to help more in offensive moments, to take chances, to take options.
"We really didn’t create a lot of chances to score the second goal, but I think Micki worked very well and with a good performance. I think there is no problem with Micki, and for example, his 40 or 50 minutes playing like a right-back, he played well.
"We only had three changes and we needed to decide what were these changes. Micki, I think, is playing well. If he was not playing well then maybe we could think to do this change."