Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal have a “responsibility” to ensure the club qualifies for next year’s Europa League as the current campaign nears an end.
The Gunners have endured another inconsistent season in the Premier League. Their record of 12 wins, six draws and 12 losses puts them 10th in the league as things stand. With eight games left to play, it means they must finish strongly to secure a place in Europe for 2021/22.
Another route would be to win the ongoing Europa League competition. Arsenal are in the quarter-finals and are level at 1-1 with Slavia Prague ahead of the second leg. Should they progress, they will be just three games away from potentially lifting the trophy.
Despite still having two ways to qualify, it is certainly not a given for the North London outfit.
But Arteta insists being in the Europa League is the least a club the size of Arsenal should be achieving.
As quoted by PA, the Spaniard said: “It is not pressure – it is our responsibility.
“The club we represent has high demands and that is the minimum we can ask for and we have to, over time, work to deliver those goals because it is what we get asked for.”
Arteta keeping positive mindset
Previously, ‘top’ clubs who have been without European football have used the time to rebuild and come back better and stronger.
Mikel Arteta: We know why Arsenal form has been poor
Mikel Arteta says it is 'clear' why Arsenal's form has been poor and is confident the team can turn their fortunes around.
Liverpool would be an example of that. The Reds came on leaps and bounds in Jurgen Klopp’s first full season and finished in the top four in 2016/17 with no other distractions. They then went on to reach a Champions League final 12 months later. That was followed by a Champions League triumph in 2019 and a Premier League title in 2020.
But Arteta says he is not keen to go down that path: “We go back to what we used to say when those teams were in a position not to qualify for Europe, we are talking about similar things,” he added.
“It is true there are some really good examples of teams that were rebuilding their teams and it helped them in their project, but I would rather be in Europe.”
While there is uncertainty whether Arsenal will achieve their goal, Arteta is choosing to look at things positively.
Asked where Arsenal would be if they miss out, he said: “That’s too many ifs. What if we qualify for Europe and win the Europa League? I prefer to think like that.”