Football

Arteta urges Arsenal to be brave ahead of Olympiakos test

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said on Wednesday (Feb 19) he wants his players to show courage when they face Olympiakos in the Europa League on Thursday.

Arsenal are expecting a hostile reception at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium for their Round of 32, first-leg tie in Piraeus, where Olympiakos have lost just once – against Bayern Munich – this season.

Arteta said he wanted his side to keep their heads up even if things were not going their way.

“They can have the best intention, but they need to go to a stadium like that and, when they make a mistake or a bad decision, have the courage to try again and play again,” he added.

“And I want to see that in my players, whether they are 17 or 35. That’s what I expect from them.

“If they keep trying, they have my full support. If they hide after that, I don’t like it.”

Arsenal have confirmed playmaker Mesut Oezil has not been included in the squad due to personal reasons, while Lucas Torreira will miss out through illness.

The Gunners have the chance to leapfrog Everton in the English Premier League on Sunday when they meet at the Emirates Stadium, but Arteta said that will not influence what team he puts out against the Greek side.

“We had a break of 15 days,” the 37-year-old Spaniard said.

“We played just one game, so I’m going to send out the best team to play. The rest of the game will take care of itself.”  – REUTERS

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