Playing on Thursday nights is going to take some getting used to for Hector Bellerin.
The Spain defender had been an ever-present in our Champions League line-ups ever since making his full first-team debut at Borussia Dortmund back in 2014.
This time Bellerin and fans alike have had to watch the competition from home, but the 22-year-old is proud of how much support they have continued to give us ahead of Thursday's Europa League opener.
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“It’s definitely a new competition for us,” he told Arsenal Player. “It’s the first time we’ve played in it, so it’s going to be really interesting. We know it’s going to be hard because Cologne are a top team and they’ve been doing things well for a couple of years.
“For us, it’s going to be a great challenge and I heard the stadium’s going to be sold out, so we really appreciate that from the fans who are coming into any competition. We’re going to have their support from the first game and we really, really appreciate that.
“Especially after playing in [the Champions League] for three years in a row since I’ve been in the first team, it’s something that we miss as a team but we know that it’s our own mistake.
“We didn’t get as many points as we needed last year to [compete in the Champions League]. There’s two ways of doing it now, but we need to try next year to be up there because we know it’s a competition where, if you want to be a top player, you have to be playing in it.”