Arsène Wenger says every minute is “massively important” in the Champions League knockout stages.

The Gunners host Monaco in the first leg of their last-16 clash at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Having been knocked out of the competition at the same stage four years in a row, Wenger is wary of the task facing his side but remains confident they will progress.

What we have learnt is that it was on [away goals] or because of one goal, which shows you that every single minute of these games will be absolutely massively important

Arsène Wenger

“I don’t know if we are favourites or not, for me it is a 50:50 game,” the Arsenal manager said. “Every time we have been in there it was hard-earned wins. It is always a one-goal difference - you go out for one goal, you stay in for one goal and that means you have to work very hard.

“What has happened in the last four years is that we have gone out twice against the winners of the competition. What we have learnt is that it was on [away goals] or because of one goal, which shows you that every single minute of these games will be absolutely massively important. We have gone out, yes, but only just. We want to stay in, even if it is [only] just.

“In the last four years we always came out frustrated because three times we conceded a goal at home in the first 30 minutes. That goal knocked us out. It was really tight. We have learnt from that and we can show that on Wednesday.”

Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
Rob Kelly 24 Feb 2015