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Unai Emery vows to respect Blackpool and avoid ‘dark day’ in FA Cup

The Arsenal boss is keen to avoid an upset at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery knows all about the importance of the FA Cup (Adam Davy/PA)
Arsenal manager Unai Emery knows all about the importance of the FA Cup (Adam Davy/PA)

Unai Emery insists his Arsenal side will show respect to Blackpool as he looks to avoid a “dark day” when he takes charge of his first FA Cup tie on Saturday.

The Spaniard replaced Arsene Wenger – the most successful manager in the history of the FA Cup with seven wins – last summer and is set for his first taste of the competition at Bloomfield Road this weekend.

Blackpool sit 10th in Sky Bet League One with off-the-field matters still dominating the goings on for the Tangerines.

The average attendance for Blackpool home games this season stands at just over 4,000 as supporters continue to protest over the Oyston family’s ownership of the club.

But, after seeing off Terry McPhillips’ side 2-1 in a tight Carabao Cup meeting earlier in the season, Emery wants to make sure he does not endure a similar afternoon as he did when his Sevilla side were embarrassed by third-tier Racing Santander in a 2013 Copa del Rey tie.

“In my experience I also have one dark day in some competitions and I don’t like it,” Emery said when asked if he was aware of the term “giant-killing”.

“For example we lost with Sevilla against one team in the third division in Spain in one cup. I remember that.

“The most important one was the match against Racing Santander four years ago – and also I remember another team. I remember each match when it is arriving in the cup, another surprise (could happen) in this competition.

“I am going to remember that. For example two years ago, Arsenal won this title against Chelsea. But last year they lost against Nottingham Forest.

“I think we can win, we can lose, we can draw but we must be concerned. It is important also to prepare and respect every team, and then we can continue our way of improving and above all have a competitive mentality and a winning mentality.”

While Blackpool’s fans largely remain at loggerheads with the club’s owners, Emery wants to show the former Premier League side respect in their meeting as he looks to uphold Arsenal’s tradition of being the most successful FA Cup side of all time.

“When we played here against them in the Carabao Cup, we knew this history of this club,” he said.

“They aren’t in the best moment for that. But here against us at the Emirates they played very competitively and gave us a lot of difficult moments.

“I have a big respect for each team and I know they are one team now not in the best moment but the respect is there because it’s a very big opportunity for them to play against us with their supporters and live this important moment, finding the chances against us.

“In the history (of the FA Cup), it’s been very important for us. Arsenal is the team that has won this competition 13 times, more than anyone else.

“It’s a title and it’s a possibility for us to do something important. We are going to start that at Blackpool. We know them because we played against them and we have the respect.”

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