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Arteta enjoying the ‘pressure’ ahead of Benfica clash

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Mikel Arteta says he is so far enjoying the pressure that has come with being the Arsenal manager since his appointment.

Mikel Arteta is embracing the pressure that has come with his job as Gunners boss.

Arsenal face a must-win game against Benfica in the second leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday night.

The Gunners claimed an away goal in that first leg, courtesy of Bukayo Saka. But given their ‘home’ leg tonight is taking place in Olympiacos’s stadium, that lead feels very slender.

“I think the tie is different,” said Arteta to the club’s website.

“The away goal is always important, but in this context, I don’t think it’s that relevant.”

“We take the game like there is everything still to play for. It’s the second half of the game and we need to go there to try to go to win the game.”

The pressure is on Arteta tonight, but he can at least draw solace from the fact that he seems to thrive in these situations.

He did it for Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final and final wins last season (against Manchester City and Chelsea respectively). He also did the same in the Community Shield against Liverpool and against Chelsea in December, when the pressure on him just to keep his job was mounting.

Once again, the pressure is on Arteta to deliver and he is relishing every bit of it.

“When you play in these competitions and these games, finals too, it’s the pressure that you want,” he added.

“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.”