Interview

'That result showed we can perform under pressure'

Bukayo Saka

With our season on the line, we delivered a sensational away win in Prague to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Mikel Arteta has always believed in his players to perform when the pressure is greatest, and he says Thursday night's result underlines the character in his squad.

"The fact that you reach a semi-final is always a big boost, this club has always to be fighting for every competition we are involved in," our manager said.

"Last night's performance was a big indicator that under pressure the team can perform, that they have this spirit and desire to do well and show a real character.

"I really liked the mindset that the players had. From the whistle at the Emirates with a disappointing result and conceding so late from a set piece, the players were convinced we would go through and that was really helpful in the preparations to get what we did.

"[Progressing to the semi-finals] has an effect because it is a real challenge playing Thursdays and Sundays, it's a real challenge in terms of recovery, preparation and rotation.

"It's been like that throughout the season and with all the other restrictions, injuries, Covid regulations, we have had even more. But now it is about winning football matches, at the end of the season you know you want to get a good run if you want to progress in the Premier League.

"The priority now is Sunday, forget about the semi-finals, we now have two big games to play at home and we have to do our best to win them because if we do, the season will start to look a little bit different.

"I think the better we are in the league, and if we keep winning, the confidence will be higher, the spirit will be better, the players' individual performances will maintain and that will have a knock-on effect on the Europa League, for sure."

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