Xhaka - FC Zurich deserve our respect

Granit Xhaka has stressed that we have to treat FC Zurich the same way we would a Premier League opponent ahead of tonight’s Europa League game.

With a strong squad travelling over to Switzerland, Mikel Arteta is leaving nothing to chance as we aim to get our group stage campaign off to the perfect start with a victory in St Gallen.

And as captain of the Swiss national team, Granit is encouraging his teammates not to take the reigning domestic champions lightly to ensure we get back to winning ways following last weekend’s defeat to Manchester United.

Speaking in the pre-match press conference, he said: “It looks like we have the whole team here because we have an opponent tomorrow that we have to respect. It is a good team and one that is dangerous, but we want to start well in a new competition and we want to take the three points back to London.

“This is a new competition and it’s not the same as the Premier League. We’ve had a very good start in the Premier League but tomorrow is a different game, a different competition and a different team. We don’t play against them every weekend so we have to be careful.”

As well as all our supporters, Granit is hoping this is the first step toward the final in Budapest in June, as we look to claim our first European trophy since 1994. 

Having come so close to lifting this trophy back in 2019 when we lost in the final to Chelsea, Granit is using that as motivation to drive us forward and claim some silverware.

Reflecting on that loss to Chelsea, he said: “It was very disappointing because when you get to the final you want to win it, but you only can learn from this. 

“Three years later we are back in the Europa League and it’s time to win.”

Read our full match preview, or get the views of Mikel Arteta in his pre-match press conference

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