Rangers boss Steven Gerrard said he was “really proud” of Arsenal’s performance “before, during and after” the Europa League victory over Slavia Prague on Thursday night.
Slavia knocked Rangers out of the tournament in the last 16 stages as the second leg of that match was marred by an incident where Ondrej Kudela directed a racial slur against Glen Kamara.
Kudela, who insisted he swore against a Rangers player but denied using racist language, was banned from 10 matches on Wednesday by UEFA and subsequently missed the 4- loss. 0 for Slavia in the quarter-finals against Arsenal.
Ahead of the game, Arsenal captain of the night, Alexandre Lacazette, took a knee in front of the entire Slavia roster, his teammates doing it behind him, before scoring twice. Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka were also on target.
“I liked everything about the game,” Gerrard said at Friday’s press conference. “I loved the performance of Arsenal, the way they did it. I admired the way they approached before the game, during the game and after the game. I’m sure Glen the did too. “
Kamara – an Arsenal academy graduate – liked three Twitter posts on Thursday night, including Arsenal’s full-time chart and a tweet that read: “This is for you Glen Kamara.”
Gerrard added: “I was really proud to watch Arsenal’s performance last night. All about it, the way they prepared for the game, the way the manager spoke, the way the players got together. were behaved before, during and after and then to support it. that level of performance, I sat there really enjoyed that performance. I thought it was sensational. “
Arterta: players had ‘good reason’ to take a knee
Mikel Arteta says his Arsenal players had “good reason” to take a knee in front of opponents Slavia Prague.
Asked about the gesture, Arteta explained that his players had asked for permission to take a stand.
“They asked me and the club that they wanted to take this initiative,” he added.
“They had the right reasons for it, so the club were very supportive. I support and luckily the referee, and UEFA, they supported me. So I think it was a good gesture.”
“They came to me, they wanted to take this initiative. We spoke with the club to make sure that we could follow the UEFA rules and that we could do it in the right way.
“We decided to take this approach, which I appreciate very much from the players, and I have to say that UEFA was also very supportive. The captains came to me and asked me to do so, and I just supported them like the club did. “
Arsenal continued to make a quick start to the game by shocking the hosts with a fine display in the first half, scoring three goals in six minutes en route to a 4-0 victory on the night to reach the League semi-finals Europa for the third time in four years.
Academy graduates Emile Smith Rowe and Saka have both played for the Gunners, who Arteta says are a “joy to watch.” Smith Rowe had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside before Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring, Lacazette then converted a penalty after Saka suffered a foul before the England international himself added the third .
Lacazette struck again in a more timid second half to see Arsenal go 5-1 on aggregate and enter a final four clash with former head coach Unai Emery and his Villarreal side.