Mikel Arteta says Arsenal have ‘to be in Europe’ as he looks to claim a place in the inaugural Europa Conference League for next season.
Arsenal have endured a disappointing domestic campaign and currently sit ninth in the Premier League, ahead of the Gunners’ final day of the season fixture against Brighton at the Emirates.
Just one point currently separates Arteta’s side from Tottenham in seventh and the Spaniard is hopeful his side can secure a positive result and finish what has been a testing season in a positive manner.
Following Leicester’s FA Cup success and confirmation of a top five finish for the Foxes, the Premier League‘s seventh-placed side will enter the newly-formed Conference League for next season, a new tournament designed to give more clubs access to continental football.
Arteta is hopeful his side can secure a positive result as fans are welcomed back into the Emirates on Sunday, and seal a place in Europe for next season after admitting it is a must that the north Londoners play in continental competition.
“The [fans] haven’t been at the stadium for a long time, we haven’t managed to be together so hopefully it will be a positive atmosphere to support the team and the team trying to give them some joy and win the game,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
Only Manchester City and Manchester United have more points than Arsenal since Boxing Day. pic.twitter.com/4dxF3MOOoG
— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) May 14, 2021
“Anything that is in our hands to make them happy and to help us to be in a better place today, it’s all positive.
“[The Conference League] is a new competition so I don’t really know what will happen. First of all, let’s try to finish as high as possible and then after we will determine, once we are involved, what the best way is to do it.
“We have experienced in the last few years how tough being in the Europa League is with the amount of games you play and the short turnaround that you have all the time in the Premier League.
“I think there is a lot of history there with teams that have been involved in the Europa League, and the negative consequences that has in the Premier League positions. But we’ve tried to give it the best possible go, we came a little bit short, but this club has to be in Europe.”
Arsenal need to win their game and hope that both Spurs and Everton drop points in their final day games against Leicester and Man City respectively.