Mikel Arteta has tasked his Arsenal players to stand up and be counted as the Gunners take on Olympiacos in the Europa League this evening.
The Spaniard takes his side to Greece in the competition’s knockout round and he has been made aware of the tough atmosphere that the fans of their hosts can create.
Arteta has brought in self-belief into the Gunner’s camp this season and their return from their winter camp in Dubai has helped them secure their second league win under the Spaniard.
With the team struggling to enter the top four, winning the Europa League seems to be the best way for them to qualify for the Champions League next season and Arteta wants his players to take this game seriously.
The Spaniard admits that the occasion can get to his players and they can make mistakes, he, however, wants them not to focus on their mistakes in the game and urges them to be ready for whatever the hosts throws at them.
Arteta said per Arsenal.com: “I won’t know how the young players react until we expose them to this kind of pressure.
“They can go into game with all the best intentions but they need to go need to come to a stadium like this and have the courage to keep playing when they make a mistake or a bad decision.
“That’s what I expect from them and if they keep trying they will have my full support.
“But if they hide, I won’t like it. And that goes for all the players, whether they are 17 or 35.
“We have no doubts about what to expect from the crowd. Sokratis has made us all very aware of the passion of their fans and we have to be ready for a very difficult challenge.
“I’m really excited to be taking charge of my first match in Europe because it’s going to be totally different to everything we’re used to in the Premier League and we have to adapt to that.
“We have a big squad and we can rotate the players, but games in Europe won’t be any more physically demanding than in the Premier League, that’s for sure.
“Olympiakos is a team with very clear ideas of what they want to do. They don’t change their game in relation to the opponent, whether it’s a big club in Europe or a small team in the domestic league.
“I have been highly impressed with the collective function of their team.”
It will be an intimidating atmosphere for sure but I am sure the lads will cope just fine, they have been in this sort of situation in Europe before and done just fine.