"I also met with (Manchester City midfielder) David Silva in Valencia a year ago and he said to me, "Coach, if you can, come to England, it is the best football and the best atmosphere for you also".
It was their 15th win from the last 16 games at the Emirates Stadium after Gunners boss Unai Emery had admitted on the eve of the game that he knew his team needed to win this first leg, given the stark contrast of their away form when compared to the near-perfect run at home.
The two friends meet at Vicarage Road on Monday night with both still looking to achieve their Premier League goals for the campaign.
Emery did admit that his side could have played better though.
English Premier League side Arsenal have confirmed they are investigating a video, now circulating on Social media, which appears to show one of their supporters racially abusing Napoli central defender Kalidou Koulibaly. When you are black like me it is really painful, I think, because we are in 2019 and obviously it is not good for football in England.
"For example we had dinner, their coaches and with our coaches, one day in St Albans in September". "We spoke with the players, they felt our support and it's all we can do in this moment, try to be together, to help them and nothing else".
"It's not fair to speak about the game only speaking about the result", Gracia added.
Gracia gave his players three days off following their semi-final exertions but he has no intention of rotating his squad for Premier League duty with seventh spot still up for grabs.
"I am very proud of my players", he said.
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