Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta Champions League
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Arteta says Arsenal dreaming of Champions League success

Mikel Arteta has said Arsenal are dreaming of Champions League success as his side prepare to face Porto in the last 16.

Arsenal are competing in the Champions League for the first time in seven years this season and have made an impressive return to the competition, topping their group-stage draw in emphatic fashion.

 

The Gunners next face Porto over two legs as the north Londoners look to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009/10.

“It’s great we have earnt the right to be here. It’s been seven years since we’ve been at this table for this kind of match and 14 years since we’ve been able to go to the next stage,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference.

 

“That’s the challenge, that’s what is ahead of us and we are really excited to face it, and to go for it with full belief, that’s for sure.

Arteta admits the ambition of his team does not end with a place in the last eight and says Arsenal are dreaming of becoming European champions for the first time this season. Asked whether winning the Champions League was the ultimate triumph, the Spaniard said:

“Well, it is certainly one of them, I’m don’t know if it’s the best, but it would be incredible to have that feeling to lift that cup in London on the 1st of June. It’s there, it’s in our minds, and it’s a dream but it’s a lot of things that you have to earn the right before that, and tomorrow we’re going to have a big obstacle ahead of us. We are really looking forward to it.

For much of Arsenal’s squad this is a first experience of Champions League knockout football, but Arteta believes their tie with Porto presents a chance for his team to show how good they are.

 

“Yeah, it’s true because we don’t have the experience, that’s the reality – 95 per cent of the players have not played in this competition. They have never played in the last 16, I haven’t, but we have so much enthusiasm and energy as well, and willingness with a point to prove that we are good enough and want to be there. That’s our desire and the passion with which we’re going to play the game tomorrow.”

Read – Remembering Arsenal’s seven straight Champions League last-16 exits

See more – Who should solve England’s defensive midfield dilemma?

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