Arteta: It's all been building towards this

Mikel Arteta in training

Mikel Arteta feels that our progression over the past 18 months has all been building towards our Champions League quarter-final clash at Bayern Munich.

We could reach our first semi-final in the competition for 15 years should we overcome the German giants, and as we continue to battle for two of the biggest prizes available in club football. Mikel feels all the ups and downs we’ve enjoyed over the past couple of seasons will stand us in good stead.

When asked what he wants to see tomorrow, Mikel said: “A performance that puts us in the Champions League semi-final. All the preparation has been to achieve that, and earn it.

“We have been ready for 10 months and everything we did last season to start that journey in the Champions League after so many years, and tomorrow we have an unbelievable opportunity to make it happen.

“We didn’t lose anything last year because we didn’t win anything. First of all, you have to win it and then maybe you can lose it. What we had is an unbelievable journey against the best team in the world here and in Europe in the last seven years. This is where we want to be and we are not satisfied. We want to be better and that is the level that we are competing, so we will try again our best until the last day trying to win those cups and to be successful.

“It will be unbelievable. If we make it happen tomorrow, we are in the semi-final, and we will be in a really highly emotional state - it's something that we haven't achieved as a club for the last 15-17 years and that's the opportunity.”

Thomas Tuchel spoke pre-match about his side’s experience at this level, having reached eight semi-finals since we last got to the final four in 2009, and having a host of players who were part of their last triumphant squad in 2020.

However while Mikel concedes that our young squad can’t match that pedigree, he can sense their excitement at being a part of a huge footballing occasion and having the opportunity to write their own history.

“Most of our players haven’t experienced a night like this and it’ll be their first one,” he added. “They’ll be super motivated, they are prepared and confident and it’s something that tomorrow we have to show against an opponent that has experience, but we’ve got to make it happen.

“I want my team to be ourselves, regardless of the stadium. Sometimes you want to do certain things and the opponent doesn’t allow you to do it, and we’re going to be very clear how we’re going to play the game, how we want to play the game, and what is going to give us the best chance to win it.”

Read every word from Mikel's pre-match press conference

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