Mikel Arteta admits he was ‘emotional’ ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League return against PSV

Mikel Arteta admits he was ‘emotional’ ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League return against PSV

Mikel Arteta described Arsenal’s return to the Champions League as a “beautiful night” and admitted he was emotional before the 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven.

Arsenal’s first appearance in the competition in six years was over as a contest by the interval after goals from Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus, while Martin Odegaard added a brilliant fourth in the second half.

“It was a beautiful night after such a long time,” Arteta said afterwards.

“We wanted to produce the right performance to win the game. It was great to see the atmosphere and the Champions League music. Everyone was getting a bit emotional before it. We showed in both boxes today I think we were exceptional. That was the difference today I think.

“I was [emotional], yeah. I was really excited about it. I wanted to control and not show that too much, but I was really excited. The journey started last year when we earned the right to be in this competition which is where we have to be as a club. Now we have to produce what we have to produce to stay at this level.

“I think we rode that energy and emotion in the right way. Talking about the enjoyment. Obviously we have to compete at this level, but you have to enjoy them because I think at the end that’s what is going to be a memory.”

Arsenal could easily have won by more but squandered several chances after racing into a 3-0 lead by 38 minutes, leaving Arteta pleased with their ruthlessness but wanting more.

“In the box we were exceptional today, we were ruthless, we took our chances,” he said. “Was top. And as well we could have done more. Probably as managers we are looking a bit more on that than any part.

“Especially from box to box there are things we should have done much, much better. That’s every single day you have to be at it. You have to be really analytical to try to improve. At the same time credit to the boys, to play the way they played in certain moments and score four goals in the Champions League against a team that hasn’t lost all season. Credit to them.”

The Spaniard was able to rest many of his key players in the second half ahead of Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham back at the Emirates.

“We could manage the minutes of some of them,” he said. “Especially because of where they were coming from with the national team. As well to give players minutes who fully deserve them. I was really emotional when I saw the reception of Emile as well. It’s a player that hasn’t played much yet and to get the reception that he got it was much deserved and I’m so happy for him as well.

“Winning always helps [recovery] and when you see that result, how happy they were today, the energy, tomorrow if I tell them to train they will train for sure. And now we have three days to prepare a big game again, a special game for us and we’ll try to do it in the best way.”