Harry Maguire is a potential fitness doubt for Manchester United's Europa League final after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his captain could miss a "few weeks" with the injury sustained against Aston Villa.

The England centre-back was visibly hurt following a challenge with Anwar El Ghazi in Sunday's 3-1 comeback win and had to be replaced by Eric Bailly after 78 minutes.

Red Devils boss Solskjaer is waiting to learn the extent of the damage to the lower leg injury, and with the Europa League final against Villarreal scheduled for May 26, Maguire's status for the fixture is unclear.

"Hopefully that [the final] will be okay with Harry," Solskjaer said. "I don't know. We need to check it. It might be a few weeks or a month - we don't know.

"It was his calf or lower leg. I think the player landed on him and he twisted something."

However, Solskjaer clarified that the damage may not be too bad as he waits to learn of the damage.

"I don't know how serious it is. He might be available on Tuesday, he might not," he added.

Maguire had previously played every minute in the Premier League since joining from Leicester City. His run of 71 games in succession means he only tied Gary Pallister for an outfield United player in the competition – with the ex-Red Devils defender coincidentally also seeing his streak ended by injury at Villa Park in the 1995-96 season.

"Harry has been excellent and it's almost unheard of, the minutes he's played," Solskjaer said. 

"His fitness is very good – he's robust. But, today, it looked like the boy landed on him and he twisted his ankle."

For the 10th time this season, United had to come from behind in an away league match to avoid defeat, with a Bruno Fernandes penalty and efforts from Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani cancelling out Bertrand Traore's fine first-half strike.

Greenwood – who with 16 Premier League goals now has the most as a teenager for United, beating Wayne Rooney's previous benchmark of 15 – hailed the character to fight back again.

"It is some achievement. We don't really want to go behind but it gives us a little boost to come back and get the win," he told BBC Sport.

"It was well-improved [in the second half]. Ole said his bits in the changing room. It seemed to pay off.

"To be on the main stage and scoring important goals like today, it means a lot.

"We just concentrate on ourselves, we take it game by game. We want to get as many points as we can and keep the pressure on [Manchester City]."

Nine of the clubs involved in the proposed European Super League have escaped a possible ban from the Champions League and Europa League after being welcomed back by UEFA.

The Premier League's 'big six' and Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid have affirmed their commitment to UEFA competitions after acknowledging "the Super League project was a mistake" and apologising "to fans, national associations, national leagues, fellow European clubs and UEFA".

All nine clubs must abide by a set of "reintegration measures" in order to be allowed back into the UEFA fold.

These include commitments to UEFA Statutes and to competing in existing UEFA competitions for which they qualify, rejoining the European Club Association and taking "all steps within their power" to terminate their involvement in the company established to run the Super League.

The clubs will also contribute to a €15million goodwill fund to be used for youth and grassroots football in Europe, while they will see five per cent of UEFA club competition revenues withheld for one season. UEFA says that revenue money will also be redistributed.

Should any of the nine clubs attempt a similar breakaway in future, they will be fined €100m. Breaching any other aspect of the Club Commitment Declaration – the agreement signed to enable their return to UEFA competitions – will incur a fine of €50m.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Milan, Inter and Atletico all renounced the Super League following significant opposition from fans, players and sponsors over their proposed involvement.

However, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have so far refused to follow suit and all three could now face strong punishment by UEFA, with the matter referred to disciplinary bodies.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "I said at the UEFA Congress two weeks ago that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media. These clubs have done just that.
 
"In accepting their commitments and willingness to repair the disruption they caused, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind it and move forward in a positive spirit. 
 
"The measures announced are significant, but none of the financial penalties will be retained by UEFA. They will all be reinvested into youth and grassroots football in local communities across Europe, including the UK. 
 
"These clubs recognised their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football. The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called 'Super League' and UEFA will deal with those clubs subsequently."

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery expressed his pride and satisfaction after exacting revenge on former club Arsenal as the Spanish side sensationally reached the Europa League final.

For the first time in Villarreal's history, they will contest a major European final following Thursday's goalless draw at Arsenal, which secured a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

Emery guided Arsenal to the Europa League final in 2019 before he was sacked by the Gunners in November that year, replaced by fellow Spaniard Mikel Arteta in London.

But Emery had the last laugh on Thursday after ending Villarreal's European drought – the Yellow Submarine had been eliminated in each of their previous four semi-finals, Europa League semis in 2004, 2011 and 2016 and the Champions League final four in 2006.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Edinson Cavani showed why the club want to keep him at Old Trafford after leading the Red Devils into the Europa League final.

Cavani scored twice in a 3-2 second-leg loss away to Roma on Thursday, but United still reached the tournament decider 8-5 on aggregate.

United star Cavani, who is out of contract at the end of the season following his arrival ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, found the back of the net in either half to ensure the Premier League giants reached their first final under Solskjaer.

After his opening-leg brace, Cavani became the first player to score two or more goals in both legs of a two-legged semi-final in a major European competition since Klaus Allofs for Cologne in the 1985-86 UEFA Cup. 

The 34-year-old Uruguay forward – linked with Boca Juniors – has scored 16 goals in his past 15 Europa League appearances, including 15 in his last 10 starts in the competition, while only against Monaco (15) has Cavani scored more goals in all competitions in his European career than Roma (13).

As United try to convince Cavani to prolong his stay in Manchester, Solskjaer hailed Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading scorer.

"Edinson showed again why we want to keep him at Old Trafford," Solskjaer told reporters as United look ahead to a May 26 showdown against Villarreal.

"Football has its own language. I think Edinson has proven tonight, in the previous game, throughout his career, what a centre-forward should be doing, both on and off the ball.

"Both preparing for games and recovering from games, he's an absolute top professional, and everyone can learn from him. Everyone in my team."

United won the opening leg 6-2 in Manchester, but they were far from their best against Roma in the Italian capital.

Edin Dzeko and Bryan Cristante were on target for Roma on Thursday, while Nicola Zalewski's late strike deflected in off Alex Telles to earn the Italian side a victory on the day.

A stunning comeback could have been on the cards if not for United goalkeeper David de Gea, who made 10 saves in total to thwart rallying Roma.

De Gea has lost his starting position to Dean Henderson in the Premier League amid uncertainty over his future, but Solskjaer added: "David was vital. He was man of the match for me, the standout performer.

"The final's still three weeks away. We've got many games, but David put a very good application in, of course, with his performance. The proof is always on the pitch. You've got to perform and you keep your place in the team when you play well."

Mikel Arteta claimed he "always feels the pressure" as he seemingly conceded his position at Arsenal may well be under threat.

The Gunners slumped out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage on Thursday, with a goalless home draw against Villarreal confirming a 2-1 aggregate defeat to the Spanish side, coached by their former boss Unai Emery.

It is the first time Villarreal have reached a major final in their history, while Arsenal are now facing the likely prospect of missing out on Europe altogether next term.

The Gunners sit ninth in the Premier League with four games remaining, and had seemingly been banking on winning the Europa League – they would have faced Manchester United in the final – to qualify for the Champions League.

Should they fail to mount a late charge for European qualification via the league, next season will be the first since 1996-97 that the Gunners have not featured in a continental competition. 

Asked on BT Sport if he was feeling any pressure, Arteta replied: "I feel the pressure all the time because I want to do as well as I can for the team, for every supporter I have here and for the fans and today is a big disappointment, because we tried everything to win that game."

This term will be the first time Arsenal have not featured in the final of a competition since 2015-16, and Arteta was subsequently pressed on his future in his post-match news conference.

"We have to show that on the pitch. It is not about talking," he said when asked how Arsenal would prove to their fans they are making progress.

"We are hugely disappointed because we wanted to give them something special after the difficult season we've had.

"But when you play these knockout games, you need your best players at their best, and we didn't have enough of those in the best possible condition, and still we fought until the end and in the second half we deserved to win the game, 1-0, and we didn't do it.

"I think everybody's job is always under scrutiny.

"We are devastated, we had so much enthusiasm to be in that final. We know how much it meant to the club, our fans, ourselves, to have a chance to win a title and be in the Champions League next season. It's a huge blow."

When questioned if he still had faith in his own coaching ability, he abruptly responded: "Yes. I wouldn't be sitting here if I don't [think I could do it]. You will see it, it's not about talking, it's about showing it on the pitch."

Arsenal's plight was not helped by Granit Xhaka sustaining a knock in the warm-up – an injury which Arteta believes limited his team's performance in the first half.

"The night started in a difficult way, losing Granit in the warm-up and having to put in a player [Kieran Tierney] that hasn't featured in a long time, and I think in the first half we weren't good enough with the ball," he said.

"We couldn't get anything in the final third to dominate the game, have composure and a little bit of confidence. We changed it at half-time, we were much better, but in the defining moments we hit the post twice and missed an empty goal."

Despite Arteta's claims, Arsenal only managed two attempts on target, though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did hit the post twice, fewer than Villarreal managed (three).

Having progressed from each of their first six semi-finals in major European competition, Arsenal have now been eliminated from three of their four appearances at this stage in Europe since, with the only occasion they progressed coming in 2018-19.

Emery, who has now reached five Europa League finals, was in charge of the Gunners at the time, but his team were thrashed by Chelsea in the final.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Manchester United's fixture schedule will be "physically impossible" for his players in the wake of their progress to the Europa League final.

Despite losing 3-2 in the semi-final second leg on Thursday, United secured their place in a cup final for the first time under manager Solskjaer with an 8-5 aggregate win over Roma.

United started with a strong side in Rome despite their 6-2 first-leg win, with Edinson Cavani scoring in each half to help the Premier League giants progress despite goals from Edin Dzeko, Bryan Cristante and an Alex Telles own goal.

The Red Devils must now return for a hectic run of three Premier League games in five days. They visit Aston Villa on Sunday, host Leicester City next Tuesday and tackle Liverpool next Thursday in a match that was postponed from last weekend due to supporter protests against the owners.

Solskjaer appeared resigned to the fact his players are unlikely to be able to play at their maximum against three tough opponents.

"It's unheard of," he told BT Sport. "[The decision] was made by people who have never played football at this level. It's physically impossible for the players.

"We have not been dealt a good hand. We are going to need everyone for these four games. It's a short turnaround, but we have to be ready."

United had lost their previous four semi-finals under Solskjaer, including in last season's Europa League, and they needed Cavani's goals and 10 saves from goalkeeper David de Gea to keep Roma at bay amid a somewhat erratic performance.

"It feels good to be in the final," said Solskjaer. "We played one very, very good half at Old Trafford, which has taken us through. I'm disappointed we lost, especially the way we played in the second half.

"It could easily have been 8-6 to them. It was a strange game. We kept giving them the ball but luckily we have one of the best keepers in the world. We are in the final and are looking forward to May 26."

Captain Harry Maguire accepted United gave up too many opportunities in the Italian capital and was full of praise for Cavani's clinical scoring touch.

"It's a great achievement to get to the final," he said. "We didn't win the game and that's disappointing but we did the hard work in the first leg.

"We started the game a bit edgy. It was end to end like basketball and we gave them too many chances in the second half.

"Now we've got to go to the final and win it. Edinson scored two great goals and his movement and work rate without the ball is excellent.

"His second goal is typical of him and what he has done throughout his career."

Villarreal are on the verge of their first major trophy after a goalless draw with Arsenal sealed a 2-1 aggregate win and set up a Europa League final against Manchester United.

Beaten in both of their previous appearances in the Europa League semi-finals, Villarreal finally came good under three-time winner of the competition Unai Emery, who guided Arsenal to the final in 2019.

The Gunners lost to Chelsea two years ago and were denied the chance to tee up another all-English final as their former boss managed to see out the result.

It was not for a lack of trying, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hitting the post twice, though Mikel Arteta's team ultimately fell short at the penultimate hurdle.

Having finished the first leg on the ascendancy, Arsenal failed to pick up where they left off, and it took a Dani Parejo free-kick looping just over Bernd Leno's crossbar to spark them into life.

Aubameyang missed a late chance last week, and he was inches away from opening the scoring when his right-footed half-volley clipped the upright.

Villarreal suffered a blow moments later – Samuel Chukwueze having to be taken off on a stretcher after going down innocuously – with Geronimo Rulli almost spilling an Aubameyang shot over the line soon after.

Having failed to score in the first half for a sixth straight home game, Arsenal wasted no time in getting on the front foot after the break – Nicolas Pepe firing just wide.

Emile Smith Rowe went similarly close following another Rulli mistake, though Arsenal played their way into trouble at the other end and were fortunate Gerard Moreno's effort lacked power.

Aubameyang seemed all set to put Arsenal ahead on away goals when he leapt to meet Pepe's cross, only for his header to bounce agonisingly back off the post as – despite some more nervy goalkeeping from Rulli – Villarreal held firm to book their place in Gdansk. 

Manchester United secured a place in the Europa League final with an 8-5 aggregate victory over Roma coming after a 3-2 defeat in Thursday's second leg.

Despite United's commanding lead from the first leg, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded a strong side in the Italian capital and was rewarded when Edinson Cavani opened the scoring in the first half.

Edin Dzeko, who also scored at Old Trafford, nodded in an equaliser and Bryan Cristante struck soon after to give Roma some slender hope of a famous turnaround, with David de Gea making 10 saves in total to keep the scoreline down.

Cavani headed in a second midway through the second half to ease some of the nerves for United, who will face Villarreal in what will be their first cup final since Solskjaer took over from Mourinho back in December 2018, despite Nicola Zalewski's late winner on the day.

De Gea made a brilliant close-range stop from the returning Gianluca Mancini after only four minutes, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan nodded wide at the far post from a corner shortly afterwards.

Cavani sent a lob over Antonio Cristante's goal and then fired a powerful effort straight at the keeper after being put through by Bruno Fernandes' clever pass.

Roma saw Lorenzo Pellegrini thwarted at close range by De Gea as they continued to push for a lifeline in the tie, but United struck with their next chance six minutes before the break.

Fernandes and Fred combined well, the latter slipped the ball to Cavani and the striker smashed a finish past Mirante from the edge of the box.

Roma, to their credit, continued to play positively and drew level in the match 57 minutes in, Dzeko heading the ball home after Pedro had scuffed a half-volley across goal.

Three minutes later, and Roma had the lead, Cristante firing a superb first-time shot past De Gea after Fred was dispossessed on the edge of the United box.

Dzeko fired straight at De Gea from point-blank range as Roma suddenly sensed United were there to be attacked, but Cavani ghosted in behind Mancini to head in Fernandes' cross from the left and make sure of his side's place in the final in Gdansk on May 26.

Zalewski struck a third for Roma on 83 minutes, his volley deflecting through De Gea's legs, but it was not enough for the Giallorossi.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not know whether Mason Greenwood fancies the hard knocks of being a career centre-forward.

Greenwood is in line to make his 100th Manchester United appearance when Solskjaer's side look to complete the job in their Europa League semi-final against Roma, taking a hefty 6-2 lead to the Stadio Olimpico.

The 19-year-old forward came off the bench to complete the rout at Old Trafford last week before being denied the chance to continue that form when fan protests saw last weekend's scheduled meeting with Liverpool postponed.

Greenwood has played most of his football over the past two seasons as a right-winger, but Solskjaer cautioned a keen eye for goal is not the only attribute needed when it comes to being a specialist striker.

"The Liverpool game was going to be his 100th game and we spoke about getting the winner in that," he said.

"We've spoken about whether he's going to be wide right or be a number nine, because you've got to stick your head in there.

"He's a pretty boy and I'm not sure if he's going to do that.

"Keep doing what he does, he's got a very bright future, I'm sure of that."

Greenwood scored 17 goals in all competitions for United in 2019-20, equalling the best season by a teenager in the club's history – level with George Best (1965-66), Brian Kidd (1967-68) and Wayne Rooney (2004-05).

The going has been tougher this time around, with 10 goals in 46 games across all competitions.

A look at Opta's expected goals (xG) figures for Greenwood show a sharp drop-off in his Premier League finishing.

Last term, his 10 league goals came from efforts with a combined xG value of 2.9 (39 shots), a huge over-performance.

In 2020-21, he has five top-flight goals – a shade over an xG of 4.6 (56 shots).

United great Gary Neville believes Edinson Cavani committing to another year at Old Trafford would be beneficial for Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, and Solskjaer gave a cautiously positive update on talks with the experienced Uruguayan.

"We've had some good chats lately and even though the decision is still in his court, I'm still hopeful," he said, Cavani's masterful showing of two goals and two assists to demolish Roma still fresh in the memory.

"And maybe even more so when you saw him on Thursday against Rome and telling him 'when you do that in front of the Stretford End [with fans in attendance], that's magic'."

United's attacking options will be slightly diminished in the Italian capital, with Dan James "still out for a little while", according to his manager.

Solskjaer added that Anthony Martial could feature again for United this season, despite initial fears a knee injury suffered on international duty with France would bring a premature end to his campaign.

"Anthony's looking good. He's just about started outside jogging, which is the first step on the rehab," he explained.

"He's done most of the work in the gym and to see him out there getting some fresh air is good. Hopefully we will see him before the season is out.

"He's supporting the team, he wants to be a part of the final and he's working hard to be available before that."

Jose Mourinho has been backed to do a great job at Roma by Paulo Fonseca, the man he will be replacing at the Serie A club.

Roma announced on Tuesday that Fonseca will step down from his role at the end of the season to make way for the arrival of Mourinho.

It marks a swift return to management for the Portuguese, who was sacked by Tottenham on April 19 after a disappointing 17 months in charge. He left Spurs with a 51 per cent win ratio in all competitions - only with Leiria (45 per cent) at the start of his managerial career had he posted a worse return.

However, Mourinho won two league titles, the Coppa Italia twice and a Champions League during his only previous spell in Italian football, which was with Inter between 2008 and 2010.

Fonseca expects his successor to do well during his time in the Italian capital.

"He is a great coach, we all know that. I think he will do a great job," Fonseca said at a news conference on Wednesday previewing his side's Europa League clash with Manchester United.

Asked if the decision to step down at the end of the season was mutual, Fonseca replied: "Speaking honestly, I thought it was time to follow different paths with Roma.

"It is not one of the most difficult tests of my career, I live this moment with normality, as a professional focused on my work until the last day.

"For me, professionalism is a sacred value. I am here today as on the first day: motivated. I want to make the best of Rome until the last day."

Fonseca guided Roma to a fifth-placed finish in the 2019-20 season but they sit seventh this campaign, 14 points adrift of the Champions League qualification places.

An impressive run to the Europa League semi-finals appears likely to come to an end on Thursday, however, as United lead 6-2 heading into the second leg in Rome.

Yet Roma famously overturned a 4-1 first-leg deficit to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League quarter-finals in 2018 and Fonseca is not ruling out another miracle result.

"It's not easy to beat Manchester 4-0, but I've seen a lot of things in football. I believe in everything," he said.

Roma have not lost both legs of a two-legged knockout tie in major European competition (excluding qualifiers) since the 2015-16 Champions League last-16 meeting with Real Madrid.

Unai Emery insists Arsenal remain the favourites to reach the Europa League final as he prepares to return to the Emirates Stadium with Villarreal.

Former Arsenal boss Emery holds a 2-1 lead over his old club in the semi-final tie going into Thursday's second leg.

Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol had given Villarreal a two-goal lead in the first leg and the Gunners looked doomed when Dani Ceballos was sent off.

But a controversial penalty that was won by Bukayo Saka and scored by Nicolas Pepe ensures that it is all to play for in the return fixture.

Villarreal have progressed from 15 of their 16 two-legged ties in major European competition when winning the first leg.

But the only exception was against an English club at the same stage of the same competition - in a tie against Liverpool in 2016 - and Emery feels Arsenal are the most likely team to progress.

"The first-leg result doesn’t change my initial thoughts on the competition," Emery said at his pre-match news conference.

"Arsenal started as a favourite and they are still favourites at this stage. The first-leg result is too narrow to make a big difference.

"We have to try to compete with these types of teams.

"When I analyse our opponents, the first thing I do is study them and try to prepare to play against them at their best. 

"Arsenal are structurally solid, they can keep possession, combine well, and have quick and technically-gifted players.

"We are going to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, so we will face the best Arsenal side, both collectively and individually."

Gerard Moreno has either scored or assisted in each of his seven starts in the Europa League this season (six goals and three assists).

Arsenal, who are relying on the Europa League to salvage their campaign, know a place in next season's Champions League is the reward if they win the competition.

They have progressed from each of their last two European knockout ties where they lost the first leg.

And not since 1995-96 have Arsenal failed to qualify for European competition of some sort, with Mikel Arteta acknowledging the importance of keeping that run going in his own pre-match news conference.

While he thinks his side are underdogs, Emery is keen to highlight the significance of this accomplishment.

"It is a very beautiful moment for us," he said.

"We have been working throughout the year trying to build on our confidence, results and objectives, and in the Europa League we’ve had a fairly solid campaign so far.

"We are approaching the game in the same way we did the first leg. 

"We will build on our performance in the previous 90 minutes. We are 2-1 up, but that doesn’t change anything. We are going to try to be ready for whatever lies ahead."

Arsenal have lost just one of their 11 knockout games with Spanish opponents at home, with that loss coming against Barcelona in the Champions League last 16 in February 2016.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes supporters' protests against the club's owners went "too far" as they led to the postponement of Sunday's Premier League clash with Liverpool.

The club's involvement in the breakaway European Super League, which swiftly collapsed, had reignited lingering resentment of the ownership at Old Trafford.

The Glazers, who acquired the club through a leveraged buyout in 2005, have long been unpopular but became the subject of increased criticism in recent weeks.

Fans surrounded The Lowry Hotel, where United stay before home matches, on Sunday, letting off red smoke bombs and leading anti-Glazer chants.

The demonstration did not end there, however, with some supporters gaining access to the stadium and then the pitch, with flares hurled towards the directors' box and press area.

Although United and Liverpool confirmed their respective starting XIs, the match was postponed roughly an hour after the intended kick-off time.

A minority of United fans clashed with police officers outside the ground, and Solskjaer feels that – coupled with the trespassing at Old Trafford – meant some took their actions too far.

"It was a difficult day for us," Solskjaer said ahead of Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg against Roma.

"Of course we wanted to play and beat Liverpool, for the fans, even. Our job has to be getting good results on the pitch, that's the players' focus, my focus, but as I said before the game, we have to listen, hear the fans' voices, it's everyone's right to protest.

"But it has to be in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately, when you break in, when police get injured, scarred for life, that's one step too far, and when it gets out of hand like this, it's a police matter, it's not about opinions anymore."

Other clubs involved in the attempted breakaway are trying to build bridges with supporters, with Chelsea announcing plans to have three fan representatives at board meetings from July.

Solskjaer accepts the communication with fans has to be better, and he understands United are already taking such steps.

"Of course, my focus has to be on the results, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see we have challenges to be dealt with, there's friction.

"Others have started discussing with fan groups already, which will be massive for us going forward.

"I would be sad if all the good work the players have done got disrupted. Our focus is on playing well and getting to a final now."

United co-owner Joel Glazer issued a public apology to United fans in the wake of the Super League's collapse, and Solskjaer has now revealed he received a personal message from the owners.

"I've been communicating with owners, I got a personal apology, they apologised to fans for how this came out," he continued. "I know they've started communications with other individuals.

"As I said, it's a difficult position for me to be in because I've got to focus on the football and I've always had a good relationship and they listen to me, they listen to the fans and I'm sure there'll be better communication coming."

But Solskjaer's focus is building on the 6-2 defeat of Roma last week and securing a first final appearance as United boss, which he hopes can at least temporarily serve as a welcome distraction.

"Sometimes frictions and challenges can move things forward," he said. "The last few weeks have been tough.

"I've had backing, I have to say. I've been put in charge and I'm responsible for the footballing matters, and I understand fans want to see trophies and progress.

"Hopefully we can get to a final tomorrow, that's the short-term fix, then we'll take it from there."

Mikel Arteta has urged his Arsenal players to ignore talk of a possible takeover at the club and "embrace the challenge" of overcoming Villarreal to reach the Europa League final.

The build-up to last week's 2-1 first-leg defeat in Spain was dominated by suggestions that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is ready to buy out the Kroenke family.

The current owners have faced intense scrutiny in the wake of the Gunners' ill-fated involvement with the proposed European Super League, leading to a large protest two weeks ago.

Thierry Henry this week confirmed Ek has reached out to him, as well as fellow club legends Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp, to help with the takeover bid.

However, while talk of a possible new era for Arsenal continues off the field, Arteta is only concerned about what happens on it as his side prepare for Thursday's visit of Villarreal.

"We have to try to be away from all the rumours and everything that is happening around the club and focus on the pitch," Arteta said at a pre-match news conference on Wednesday.

"The best way to help the club is to win football matches and be competitive at the highest level."

More protests are expected at Emirates Stadium ahead of the Villarreal match and Arteta respects the fans' right to express their views.

"I think that they have to be able to do so," he said. "If it's done in a specific way, then they have the right to do it. We have to prepare for the game in the best possible way.

"I wouldn't like to use any excuses. I know that the only purpose of the fans is to defend the club and that they want the best for the team. We will try to do the same."

Nicolas Pepe's penalty, after Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol had given Villarreal a two-goal lead in the first leg, ensures that it is all to play for in the return fixture.

Arsenal have progressed from each of their last two European knockout ties where they lost the first leg.

"We have to embrace the challenge, the opportunity we have ahead," Arteta said. "It is only the 10th time the club is in a European semi-final. We have to take the opportunity.

"It's a massive game for everybody but in particular for the club because we are representing the club and our fans and we want to do it in the best way by winning trophies.

"It's a big moment again. Not for me, but for the club and for everything that has happened in the last two years and the last months.

"So I think it will be really important and a big step forward if we are able to be in that final and have the opportunity to win that trophy."

Arsenal are relying on the Europa League to salvage their campaign, with a place in next season's Champions League their reward if they win the competition.

Not since 1995-96 have Arsenal failed to qualify for European competition of some sort, and Arteta has acknowledged the importance of keeping that run going.

"Not being in the Champions League is not something we want, but it's the reality. A lot of things have happened and the level has been raised to an unprecedented level," the Arsenal boss said.

"Nobody accepts the situation as it is. We want to change it straight away and this season we have the chance to change it [by winning the Europa League]."

Asked if this could be the last opportunity for the current group of players to win a trophy together, Arteta said: "I don't want to think like that.

"I want to think my players always have the hunger to win any competition. It's true for some players it might be the last season for different reasons.

"I can see how much it means for them and how much they want it."

Arsenal have lost just one of their 11 knockout games with Spanish opponents at home, with that loss coming against Barcelona in the Champions League last 16 in February 2016.

However, Villarreal have progressed from 15 of their 16 two-legged ties in major European competition when winning the first leg - the only exception being the 2016 Europa League semi-final when losing to Liverpool.

Arteta is monitoring the fitness of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kieran Tierney, David Luiz and Alexandre Lacazette ahead of Thursday's second leg, while Dani Ceballos is suspended after being sent off in the reverse fixture.

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal's dominant 2-0 win over Newcastle United was the perfect preparation for Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal.

The Gunners suffered a 2-1 defeat in the first leg in Spain on Thursday, but they returned to winning ways against Steve Bruce's side at St James' Park.

Mohamed Elneny's first Premier League goal in his 66th appearance in the competition got them on their way after just five minutes, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a sixth consecutive win against the Magpies without conceding a goal.

Aubameyang's second-half goal meant he became the first Arsenal player to score in five consecutive matches against an opponent since Olivier Giroud netted in six straight games against Aston Villa between 2013 and 2016.

The only blot on the Gunners' copybook was a hamstring injury to David Luiz, which could keep the Brazilian out for the remainder of the season.

Arteta made nine changes to the side that lost in Spain and was pleased with his side's dominance, the Gunners taking 19 shots and restricting the hosts to just a single shot on target.

"Apart from David's injury, that was all we wanted," Arteta told a media conference.

"We wanted to keep the team fresh and pick players with the right attitude to play this game. The focus was on today. It was a strong performance from the beginning.

"We dominated the game and won the three points, which we needed. It helps for Thursday as well."

Aubameyang has now scored in all three of his appearances against Newcastle this season, becoming the first Arsenal player to score in three separate matches against an opponent in a single season since Alexis Sanchez against Hull City in 2014-15.

The Gabon international, who was recently struck down with malaria, came off the bench for the final five minutes against Villarreal in Spain and proved his fitness with an impressive display on Sunday.

"We thought he wasn't going to manage it on Thursday. Two days before, he was struggling," Arteta explained. "He could only manage to play 10 or 15 minutes.

"The day after, he started to feel better. It's good to see he was fine today. He scored a goal, he played well, so it's a real boost."

Gabriel Martinelli enjoyed an eventful game, laying on Aubameyang's goal with a fine cross and drawing a foul from Fabian Schar in the 90th minute which resulted in a red card for the Newcastle defender.

"Gabi's improving every week," Arteta said. "He's taking his minutes in the right way.

"He's developing in the way we all believe he can. Today he had an assist, some good moments on the left and we're trying to play him as a number nine as well."

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp says he will treat the Europa League with respect should the Reds qualify for the second tier continental competition.

The 2019-20 Premier League champions are currently sixth on the table, four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the final Champions League qualification spot with five games to play.

As a result, Liverpool appear destined to play in the Europa League in 2020-21 for the first time since 2015-16.

"Since I am in England we have only played in the Europa League once and we went to the final [in 2016 against Sevilla], so it was good apart from the final," Klopp said. "Last night I saw a Man United team enjoying the Europa League a lot.

"It depends obviously which competition you are in and the circumstances around it, but it was always like this. We will not think 'my God now we have to play that'.

"It is a great competition and I haven't thought it through to the end because I know even though it is not likely that there is a little chance [for the Champions League] as well, so let's give a try and think about what happens next season."

The Reds take on second-placed Manchester United on Sunday in the league as they bid to keep alive their top four aspirations.

"Five wins won't be enough, it depends how the other teams do obviously, but without five wins we don't have a chance," Klopp said.

"Man United still think they can become champions, rightly so, so we think we can still go to the Champions League, but we need results in other games. We know that."

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