Marcelino: Arsenal favourites for Europa League

Valencia progressed to the Europa League semi-finals by beating Villarreal on Thursday, setting up a clash with Arsenal.

Marcelino looks on during Valencia's clash with Villarreal.   -  Getty Images

Valencia coach Marcelino insists the pressure will be on Arsenal when his side takes on the Gunners in the Europa League semi-finals.

Toni Lato and Dani Parejo were on target for Los Che as the side saw off Villarreal 2-0 on Thursday to secure a comfortable 5-1 aggregate success in the last eight.

Marcelino had been less than impressed by his side's showing in the first leg, but was rewarded by a dominant display at Mestalla.

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A last-four meeting against Arsenal – led by three-time Europa League winner and former Valencia boss Unai Emery – is its reward, and Marcelino insists the Premier League side must be considered as favourite.

"Arsenal fight to get into the Champions League, with a coach who knows us perfectly, they are one of the favourites," Marcelino told a news conference.

"But anything can happen in the semi-finals. At the same time, [the final in] Baku is a long way away."

Valencia endured a difficult start to the campaign, but Marcelino's side sits just three points off the top four in LaLiga, with a Copa del Rey final against Barcelona to come.

"We are proud of the performances of the squad, we are in a semi-final and in a final, and we are one win away from fourth," Marcelino added.

"Winning in Seville [against Real Betis on Sunday] would put us in a very good situation."

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