You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Arteta refuses to consider Arsenal missing out on European football

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 14/04/2021 Adrian Kajumba For The Daily Mail
Mikel Arteta holding a football ball on a field: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Arsenal are facing their first season without European football since 1995-96, but manager Mikel Arteta is not prepared to consider that dreaded scenario.

The Gunners are ninth in the Premier League table and 10 points off the top four, so winning the Europa League looks increasingly like their best hope of returning to major European competition.

However, Arteta's side face Slavia Prague on Thursday night with their hopes of staying in the competition hanging in the balance.

a football player on a field: Mikel Arteta has called on his players to deliver 'magic' in a season-defining Europa League tie © Provided by Daily Mail Mikel Arteta has called on his players to deliver 'magic' in a season-defining Europa League tie a group of people playing football on a field: Elimination leaves Arsenal facing the prospect of no European football for first time in 25 years © Provided by Daily Mail Elimination leaves Arsenal facing the prospect of no European football for first time in 25 years

A 1-1 draw in the first leg has left Arsenal with work to do in the Czech capital to reach the semi-finals.

Asked if he is contemplating the club not being in Europe after 25 successive seasons, Arteta replied bluntly: 'No.'

Pushed further, he added: 'I don't want to put it in my mind or transmit it to any of the players or anybody at the club.'

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno said: 'When you think about the future without Arsenal in a European competition, it doesn't feel right. 

'Our job is to make sure that doesn't come true. Arsenal belongs to Europe and that's our target and our job.'

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Cedric Soares are posing for a picture: Arsenal looked in control in the first leg against Slavia Prague after Nicolas Pepe (right) scored © Provided by Daily Mail Arsenal looked in control in the first leg against Slavia Prague after Nicolas Pepe (right) scored text, chat or text message © Provided by Daily Mail

Positive thoughts are the only ones Arteta is interested in ahead of his team's season-defining game against Slavia.


Video: ‘Something needs to change’ – Wayne Rooney speaks on football’s dementia issue (Mirror)

Arsenal will need a better result than anyone has managed at the Sinobo Stadium all season to go through without the need for a penalty shootout.

Slavia have not been beaten at home all campaign. 

They have only been held four times, and the highest score draw has been 1-1. 

Matching that result would only be enough for Arsenal to force extra time.

Arteta said: 'We know that it is going to be very difficult and they have been doing extremely well at home. They are really strong.

'We have been strong away, so I don't want to focus too much on them. 

'I want to focus on what we can do and the task ahead of us, and we have to do our thing to have the best possible chance of going through.

'We've shown that in big games, big players have to step in and create magic moments and you need that — so let's hope we can have them.'

With scrutiny on his manager increasing, Leno added: 'We are all together. It's not about the manager, it's not about the team, we are all in this.

Bernd Leno standing on a baseball field: Slavia Prague equalised and Bernd Leno echoed his manager's thoughts ahead of the big game © Provided by Daily Mail Slavia Prague equalised and Bernd Leno echoed his manager's thoughts ahead of the big game

'Mikel does a great job and the team are fighting for him, the club, the fans and ourselves.

'As players, we want the best for ourselves and you can see, from our performances in the last couple of weeks, we are fighting — although the results were not the best.

'We cannot change the past. We have to look forward, and there are still a lot of big games ahead of us. It starts with Prague. 

'Hopefully there will be a semi-final and final to follow, and we can finish the season with a trophy and a great finish in the Premier League.' 

Read more
AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon