Arteta admits he still has to prove himself in Europe
Mikel Arteta admits he still has something to prove as a manager in European competition as he aims to lead Arsenal into the Champions League knockout stages on Wednesday night.
The Gunners host Lens at the Emirates knowing a point would secure safe passage into the last 16 while victory will seal top spot in Group B.
Arteta led Arsenal back into the Champions League after a seven-year absence but — other than a run to the semi-finals in 2020-21 — he struggled in Europa League knockout games earlier in his tenure.
Asked if he has something to prove in Europe, he replied: "For sure.
"I think it is not that we have to prove, we had to come back into Europe being the club we want to be, have that presence and the results that tell them we are back in a strong way.
"We haven't done that yet and it needs to be done."
While Arsenal are on the verge of qualifying for the latter rounds, Premier League rivals Manchester United and Newcastle are still uncertain if their European campaigns will extend beyond Christmas this season.
When asked if qualification should be taken for granted, Arteta replied: "100% not.
"You have to sweat, dig in a lot and play well in games to deserve to win them. We are playing against really tough opponents.
"PSV [Eindhoven] have won all of their games in their league, they have only lost against us. Sevilla is a very tough place to go and tomorrow is going to be a really difficult game but hopefully we can be better than them.
"I am enjoying it, is a great feeling. It makes you proud, it makes you feel that it is the level the club should be at and we are competing really well so let's continue to do so."
With Arsenal on the cusp of making the knockout rounds, Arteta could be tempted to shuffle his pack against their Ligue 1 opposition.
Kai Havertz will be pushing for a start after coming off the bench to score a late winner at Brentford on Saturday to send Arsenal top of the Premier League.