Mikel Arteta is taking the Carabao Cup just as seriously as any other competition as we head to London Stadium to face West Ham United in the fourth round on Wednesday.
We produced a hard-fought performance to knock out Brentford 1-0 away from home in September to get this far, and the boss believes we are again in for a tricky tie as we aim to defeat another fellow Premier League side in our quest for silverware.
“Doing what we are doing, being consistent and playing better than the opponent, means tomorrow against West Ham is going to be a really tough game,” Mikel said in his pre-match press conference at London Colney on Tuesday morning.
“It always is away from home against them and we want to continue with the momentum and form that we’re in. That’s it.
“I live it exactly the same as the Premier League. I have the same feeling in my tummy, the same uncertainty, the same way to prepare. I’m going to be there close to the game and I just want to win the game, for sure.”
Mikel’s focus on cup competitions has already seen him win the Emirates FA Cup and the Community Shield during his time as manager. He went on to explain what winning the Carabao Cup could do for this group of players and if it can be a stepping stone to more prizes.
“Even if you are doing rotations [of the squad], I think the role of the players is now to be committed to the challenge of the trophy and this game.
“I think it’s critical for them to show what they can do and when it’s really important and they are given a chance and a moment when they are in or out, how are you going to approach that game and are you going to win the game for the team? I think if you want to grow as a team and you don’t have that mindset, it’s very difficult.
“The mindset of every three days being able to do it in different ways, when you have a big game next to it or when you just played in the Champions League, what’s the behaviour of the team? How the team responds to that is very important.”