Arsenal's Arteta banking on big-name magic to keep European dream alive


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - March 14, 2021 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta after the match Pool via REUTERS/Nick Potts

(Reuters) - Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has refused to consider the prospect of missing out on European football next season and called on his players to "create magical moments" in Thursday's Europa League quarter-final second leg against Slavia Prague.

Arsenal are languishing in ninth in the Premier League standings, seven points behind sixth-placed Liverpool, and face a tough task to qualify for Europe through their league position.

Another route to Europe is by winning the Europa League, but the London club, who been involved in continental competition every year since 1996-97, have their work cut out after being held 1-1 by Slavia in the first leg at home.

When asked whether he had entertained the thought of missing out on European competition, Arteta told a news conference: "No. Because I don't want to put it in my mind or transmit it to any of the players or anybody at the club."

Arteta said Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe would be available for the trip to Prague but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard face late fitness tests.

"In big games, big players have to step in and create the magic moments," he added. "So let's hope that we can have them.

"It doesn't matter who it is but someone has to create when the team needs those moments. We have moments in the season where it has been the senior players and then other moments where it has been the young players. It doesn't really matter."

Arteta, who has come under increasing pressure due to the club's poor domestic form, said his side needed to start delivering positive results on the pitch to silence critics.

"Results are the only important thing... to have the perception that we are moving in the right direction," he said.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In Football

Hasenhuettl praises 'biggest talent' Tella after Fulham win
Moyes rues West Ham's poor finishing after Brighton draw
Zidane to leave Real Madrid at end of season: reports
Soccer-Pedro thunderbolt earns Roma derby win to end Lazio top-four hopes
Besiktas clinch Turkish title on goal difference
Soccer-Fans roar back at Wembley for Leicester triumph
Soccer-Tuchel laments Chelsea's bad luck after final loss
Soccer-Spotify founder Ek says his bid for Arsenal was rejected
Soccer-Leicester's FA Cup win is what dreams are made of, says Schmeichel
Soccer-Juventus edge Inter thriller to stay in top-four race

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers