Sokratis wasted no time in making an impact on his return from injury.
The Greece defender had not featured since January’s Emirates FA Cup defeat to Manchester United, but came off the bench to score our third goal in Thursday’s Europa League last-32 win over BATE Borisov.
After the game, Sokratis spoke about our hopes in the competition, Mesut Ozil’s performance and the latest on his own fitness…
Europa League reaction
“After the first game when we didn’t play well, we knew we had to do one good game here to win. In the end, we won, we go forward, we are happy, we concentrate and look at the next game.
“I think we are motivated in every game but it is just we played badly there and after the game we said ‘OK, we have another 90 minutes to show we are a better team than them’. This happened yesterday.
“This competition is very important, of course. I said also before that we have to go until the end and try to win it. Our coach won this trophy a lot of times and that is good for us. When you win something three times, it is something special. Not everybody has won this trophy three times and it will be very important for us to go until the final.”
Mesut Ozil’s performance
“He played very well. Mesut is a fantastic player and when he is fit he is one of the most important players in the team.
“Of course when something is not going well, everybody is there to criticise but we have to see also what Mesut did in the last years for this team. All the team, all the players are behind him and we need a good Mesut to go [forward] because we know that he is very important for us.
“He was sick, he had some problems but after he came back for training, it was the same situation as me. When I was injured and I came back, it is not that I have to play from the first game in the first 11. Now, he is good. He did well yesterday and I hope in the next games he will go in front like this.
“He enjoys himself and we enjoy that he is with us. But when you are injured, it is difficult. Also, I feel in the first 10 minutes, I felt like a fish out of water yesterday as I was out for one month. Mesut is very important, he is a very good guy and we need him.”
His own fitness
“I’m back. I don’t know if I am at my best yet so we will see. But I am here to give 100 per cent and help the team.
“We have to say first that we had a lot of injured players. Me, I was two times injured so this year I lose a lot of games and this is strange for me. Rob also had a big problem, Bellerin also had a problem but it is important that every player is not injured is there to help the team.
“Until now, like Stephan, like Lolo when he was injured for eight months, it was very important that he helped the team. Until now, we are not perfect in this situation but we are good.
“We need to improve, we need to work harder but we have also to be lucky and not have a lot of injuries because when you do it is difficult for the team, for you and when you come back the difference is not the same when you change every week.”
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