Press conference

'Atletico's strength is they have no weakness'

It is a daunting task facing us on Thursday night as we welcome Atletico Madrid to Emirates Stadium for the first leg of our Europa League semi-final.

 
The Spanish side are second in the table, having only conceded 18 times in 34 games in La Liga and Arsene Wenger is well aware of their qualities.
 
This is what he told Wednesday's press conference:
 
on Atletico not conceding in a home game for the best part of 2018…
The rules in Europe make the weight of an away goal very strong. That’s why when you play the first game at home, you’re a little bit in a difficult psychological situation because you know that you have to score but as well that every goal you concede can be a huge handicap.
 
on Atletico’s qualities…

I would say one of their strengths is that they have no obvious weakness. they are a very efficient team and a team who can use every weak moment of their opponent. Overall I must say that is their main strength.
 
on whether the Europa League trophy would be the most satisfying win for him…
I don’t know. At the moment I do not look after myself, I just want to do well. I want to win, I want to continue to do what I tried to do my whole life and that’s try to win the next game. The next game is in Europe and after Europe we go to Manchester United, and I want to try to win the game again. That’s all I did. People always keep what they want and you have to accept that.

on whether not winning the Europa League would be an anti-climax…
Yes, of course, but that’s part of it. It will not take away from the fact that people will realise what I said many times: that to qualify for 20 consecutive years [for the Champions League] is not as easy as it looked at one stage. It would really feel like an anti-climax of course. That’s why we want to give our absolute all to have a chance of going to the final.

on whether he believes in fairytale endings…
I want to do it for [the players], to achieve something with them because I feel they have a special mental quality. My biggest satisfaction would be to be successful together with the group of players that I have. I’ve seen them behave the whole season and they deserve it.

on how much a European trophy would affect his legacy at Arsenal…
I don’t know. I always say that a manager has an influence on three fronts: the dimension and structure of the club, the influence on the individual players and of course the style of play and results. That’s the part that we play for tomorrow. If I can add that to what I’ve done, then I’m very happy.
 
on whether this team can go on to become legends…
What I want to say is that this team has quality. Two years ago we finished second in the league, last year we made 75 points and won the FA Cup, we won the Community Shield, we were in the League Cup final, we are in the semi-final of the Europa League so these players have quality and I am convinced that we can show that again before the end of the season. I am convinced in the future, with two or three additions, this team has the quality to fight for the title.

 

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