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Champions League return is just the start for Arsenal, says Mikel Arteta

Champions League return is just the start for Arsenal, says Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta says he always believed that he would guide Arsenal back to the Champions League.

The Gunners are returning to the competition for the first time since the 2016/17 season and kick off their campaign on Wednesday night against PSV Eindhoven in Group B.

It has not been an easy journey to this point, with Arteta having to battle through rocky patches and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Spaniard, however, insists he never lost faith and is determined that the club kick on from here.

New territory: Mikel Arteta will make his Champions League coaching debut for Arsenal (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
New territory: Mikel Arteta will make his Champions League coaching debut for Arsenal (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“It feels like yesterday, but in the same way it feels like many more years ago,” said Arteta, reflecting on Arsenal’s journey under his tutelage.

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“Obviously we had some big situations to go through. We did it together and in a really powerful way as a club, with everyone that was involved in that process.

“We always believed that we were going to reach there, but something is to try to plan and then to do it. We don’t want to stop here — that is for sure. That is the aim, to continue to be better.

“Probably when we look back in a few years we will understand a lot of changes and a lot of mistakes along the way that have made us better.”

Arteta is relishing making his Champions League debut as a manager and has urged his players not to take it for granted too.

“Looking at the Premier League, and we’ve seen in the last five to ten years what happened, don’t take it for granted,” he said.

“You really have to earn it. It’s a really big thing to be qualifying in this Premier League for the Champions League.

“We earned it last year and this season we’re going to have to fight really, really hard to try to earn it again, that’s for sure.”