Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has told his players to “enjoy the pressure of winning” or they do not belong at the club.
The former captain was speaking ahead of Thursday’s Europa League last-32 second leg with Benfica, when the north London side will be looking to make the most of their away goal advantage, with the tie level at 1-1.
The match will be played in Athens, Greece, because of the UK’s coronavirus travel restrictions on arrivals from Portugal - a so-called ‘red list’ country which requires a hotel quarantine.
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Arteta says it is an occasion he thrives on, and wants his squad to finish the job.
“This is why we are here," he said.
"When you play in these competitions and these games, finals too, it's the pressure that you want. It's much better to have the pressure to win than the pressure not to lose.
I really enjoy the pressure of winning and to be here and to represent this club you have to be prepared to do that. If not, you don't belong here.
"I always feel that it (pressure) is on me, every time you're playing in a competition and you can go out you know the consequences, and with this club it is always to win the competition that you are in, so that doesn't really change much."
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With the prospect of European qualification via the Premier League a tricky task for a team which currently sit in 11th, Arteta says it is vital they progress further in the competition.
"It's a big season and a really important game, mentally and confidence-wise”, said the Arsenal boss.
"It's going to dictate if we're in another competition or not for a few more weeks. This is really what we need. It's a really tough opponent.
"It's a Champions League team who have been playing in these types of games for many years with a manager with huge experience. For us tomorrow, it's a final."
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