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Mikel Arteta sends warning to Arsenal kids ahead of hostile Europa League test

FOOTBALL By Mirror | February 20th 2020
Europa League - Arsenal Press Conference - Athens, Greece - February 19, 2020 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during the press conference. [REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis]

Mikel Arteta has warned his Arsenal kids to let their actions speak louder than words in the hothouse of Olympiakos.

The north Londoners have won just once away from home since early December and only four times on the road all season.

Olympiakos have been beaten just once at home this term - by German champions Bayern Munich - and the 32,000-seater stadium will be a sell-out for the ninth time in the current campaign.

Arteta is set to play another strong which is likely to include rising stars Bukayo Saka and Joe Willock. He has warned his kids not to be intimidated and to express themselves as they would at the Emirates.

“It is part of the process,” said the Gunners boss. “You don’t know until you expose them.

“They can have the best intentions but they need to go to a stadium like here and when they make a mistake or a bad decision, have the courage to try again and play again.

“I want to see that in my players, whether they are 17 or 35. That’s what I expect from them.

“If they keep trying, they have my full support. If they hide after that, I don’t like it. But what I’ve seen up to now, every time they play on that field they are responding really, really well. That’s what I am hoping and I am sure they will do it tomorrow.”

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. [AP Photo/Frank Augstein]

Arsenal remain undefeated so far this calendar year and have lost only one of their ten games under Arteta.

But the Spaniard has shrugged off the pressure of having to at least match Unai Emery who reached the Europa League final last summer.

Arteta added: “We have to go game by game. Every year every competition is completely different, you play different opponents so you cannot compare what you did last year with this year.

"The context is different, the objective is still the same one – a club like us has to try and win every competition we are involved in and that is the mindset we are playing the game and the competition with.”

Arteta will keep his players in Greece after the game to give them the chance to recover properly ahead of Sunday’s game against Everton.

He explained: “We have two games in four days. It’s a long flight. Two hours’ difference as well. We are going to play at 10pm (11pm EAT) local time. After that if we took the flight we’d have arrived in London really, really late.

“Apart from that I believe that the first window in the first hour and a half is really important for the players. So to eat with the quality of nutrients we need I think it’s better to do it in a hotel.

“I think it's better to rest in your own bed rather than to do it on the flight when you are travelling. Then the next day everybody recovers together and we fly back and they can spend the afternoon with their families.”

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