Mikel Arteta vows Arsenal must 'deliver' on final day in search of European football

20 May 2021 11:15

Mikel Arteta has confessed he expects to see his Arsenal side give their all on the final day of the season in search of an unlikely spot in Europe.

With the Champions League and Europa League spots now out of reach for the Gunners, all sights are now set on sneaking into seventh and sealing a spot in the new Europa Conference League - the runt of the European competition litter.

It's hardly the biggest prize around, but Arteta was adamant that any form of European football has to be seen as a positive from a season which has been disastrously bad at times.

Speaking after Wednesday's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace, he said (via the club's official website): "It was a crucial moment because we wanted to go into the final day with every chance to be in Europe next season.

"In order to do that we knew we had to win today and wait for some results, and with the way the game was developing, we were running out of time and it looked difficult. But at the end, we found a way to do it.

"You saw me on the touchline. I'm so happy. When you're able to win a game in the last minute, it's always really pleasing because it shows the team how much they want it and [how much they] believe up to the last whistle, so really good.

"We have to handle that situation [on Sunday]. If somebody were to say to us in November or December that we could be in the position that we are in to have the chance in the last game to qualify for Europe, we would have said you are crazy, but we have done it.

"I think with the results and the number of points that we have managed to get in those months, we have earned the right to be in that position. Now it's time to deliver on the final day, but unfortunately, it's not in our hands."

Arsenal remain ninth in the Premier League table, but they are just one point adrift of Tottenham in seventh. Should Spurs fail to win at Leicester and eight-placed Everton fall to Manchester City on Sunday, Arsenal can sneak into seventh with a win over Brighton.

Arteta also suggested that crashing out of the Europa League at the hands of Unai Emery's Villarreal, and losing the chance that competition brings to qualify for the Champions League, had played a part in his side's upturn in results.

"I think you have to win the four matches to prove that you have reacted as a team," he said. "The reaction and the pain in that dressing room still hurts and that is what we are using in the final games to show everybody and show ourselves that we could have done better, but we're not going to give up and we're going to challenge to the last day to give Arsenal a chance to be back in Europe and have the opportunity again."

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Source: 90min