Mikel Arteta: Arsenal boss admits he ‘can’t control’ players ahead of UCL semifinal

Whisked away to conduct his pre-match press conference just hours after landing in Germany on Tuesday, Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta spoke about his side’s mentality ahead of their crunch clash with Bayern Munich.

The two sides settled for a 2-2 draw in N5 last week, but Arteta’s Gunners have since gone on to suffer a loss to Aston Villa. The Spaniard insisted on Tuesday that ‘regardless of that result, it’ll have no impact on what’s going to happen tomorrow.’

We’ll refocus and start to build the confidence, trust and understanding for the performance that we have to put in tomorrow to beat them and be through in the tie.’

Arteta admitted that most of Arsenal’s players haven’t experienced a night as decisive as Wednesday, but he expressed hope that ‘they’ll be super motivated’ to show what they’re capable of when they face Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Arsenal have struggled to reach the latter stages of this competition in recent years, but quizzed as to whether his players are trying to overlook the emotional side of Wednesday’s clash, Arteta quipped that ‘emotion is needed in football – it’s about tweaking it and touching the right buttons at the right time.’

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‘I think we did that really well in London because after scoring the first goal in the game, we had a big chance to score the second one, and then in 5-10 minutes they are ahead and were in control. We were mature not to throw everything away in that moment, found our rhythm and our moment to score a really good goal, and the reaction of the team was straight away to score the third one.’

But Bayern Munich will be hungry for blood when they welcome Arsenal, after Bayer Leverkusen’s win on the weekend confirmed that die Roten have failed to win the Bundesliga title – bringing an end to an era of dominance that spans back to 2012/13.

Asked whether his players have been tasked to block out noise from the outside world, Arteta admitted: ‘I can’t control that. I can’t check their phones and put their TVs away and the people around them. We didn’t lose anything last year because we didn’t win anything. First of all, you have to win it and then maybe you can lose it.’

‘What we had is an unbelievable journey against the best team in the world here and in Europe in the last seven years. This is where we want to be and we are not satisfied. We want to be better and that is the level that we are competing, so we will try again our best until the last day trying to win those cups and to be successful.’