Europa League spot ‘was a must’ says Arsenal’s Arteta
- Credit: PA
Mikel Arteta admits winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the Europa League was a “must” for Arsenal.
Despite finishing eighth in the Premier League, their lowest finish since 1995, the Gunners will still play in Europe next season following a 2-1 win over Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup final.
While Arsenal now face a fourth consecutive season out of the Champions League, missing out on continental qualification altogether would have left Arteta in a difficult position.
Not only would it have been harder to convince his stars, including captain and FA Cup matchwinner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, to stay but attracting new signings would also likely prove a challenge.
Asked about the importance of qualifying for Europe, Arteta said: “I didn’t want to add too much pressure to the players to be fair as I know how important it was as we needed to be in Europe.
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“It is a must for our club and financially because it is a bigger step forward in order to allow us to do more things in the future and have a better structure financially.
“I am very pleased for both things – winning the trophy and having the option to play in Europe.”
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Arteta has seemingly been growing in confidence in recent weeks that Aubameyang, who scored both goals to cancel out Christian Pulisic’s early strike for Chelsea, will sign a new contract.
Arsenal have also been linked with the likes of Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid, a loan move for Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho and most recently Sevilla defender Diego Carlos.
Arteta revealed he has already passed his plans on to Arsenal’s hierarchy ahead of a busy season, which is now set to begin with the Community Shield against Liverpool on August 29.
“I need to enjoy this moment first,” he added.
“It is a big relief and I am really happy. We had some very demanding months so I need to switch off a little bit.
“I have presented my vision and my plans to them and all together we will try our best to get the club in the best possible position.”