Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal to take Europa League ‘pain’ out on West Brom

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Mikel Arteta wants his Arsenal players to harness the pain of their Europa League exit to Villarreal to sink lowly West Brom on Sunday.

The Gunners could only draw 0-0 against former boss Unai Emery’s side on Thursday night as they missed out on a coveted Europa League final place.

After an inconsistent Premier League campaign, Arsenal look like facing a first season without European football in 25 years.

Mikel Arteta shouts at his team during their Europa League clash with Villarreal
Mikel Arteta shouts at his team during their Europa League clash with Villarreal (John Walton/PA)

Next up they host West Brom in a game where defeat for the Baggies would see their relegation back to the Sky Bet Championship confirmed.

Arteta has urged his squad to overcome the hurt suffered by their poor performance and elimination three days earlier – but believes some residual pain could be the catalyst for a good display on Sunday.

“We have no time because we have a game on Sunday,” he replied when asked whether the team can harness the pain they feel.

“We had a training session on Friday and it had to be when you leave the training ground, most of it has to be out of the system.

“I think you have to leave some of it in some of your system, and use some of it in the right way as an energy driver in the game on Sunday.”

Bukayo Saka, left, and Emile Smith Rowe
Bukayo Saka, left, and Emile Smith Rowe have been two of the silver linings in Arsenal’s season (Catherine Ivill/PA)

While a number of Arteta’s biggest players were criticised for not delivering in what was their biggest game of the season, once again it was Arsenal’s young talent which impressed.

Emile Smith Rowe, in particular, had a good night while Bukayo Saka has enjoyed a fine season which recently saw him named Young Player of the Year at the London Football Awards.

“It gives me a lot of confidence because they have shown what they can do,” Arteta said of his precocious youngsters.

“It’s true that playing in a semi-final at this level is a different story, but as well they need the right surroundings around them to grow, without putting too much pressure on them.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, it has to be in your system and part of you that you want to be able to take the ball anywhere, under any conditions and any kind of pressure.”

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