The Spanish manager has issued a rallying cry to his players ahead of what could be a season-defining match for the Gunners.
Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal to “earn the right” to play in the Europa League final as he calls on his players to “embrace the challenge” of a comeback against Villarreal.
Arsenal find themselves at a disadvantage ahead of the Europa League semi-final home leg against Villarreal on Thursday, having suffered a 2-1 defeat in the away leg last week.
European glory is the Gunners’ only shot at redemption, and securing qualification for next season’s Champions League, amid a dismaying domestic season. They are sat mid-table in the Premier League and have exited both the FA Cup and Football League Cup.
The Gunners have been unconvincing in their previous two home matches in the Europa League, being held to a draw against Slavia Praha and losing to Olympiacos.
“Time to change it. We have to embrace the challenge, the opportunity we have ahead,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference, via Daily Mail.
“I think it is the 10th time the club is in a European semi-final so it doesn’t happen very often so we have to take the opportunity tomorrow and earn the right to be in the final.”