Arteta: We have learned a lot from Europa League exit last season

Mikel Arteta says that Arsenal have learned a lot since their Europa League exit to Sporting Lisbon last season.

Last year, Arsenal were outright favourites for the Europa League but following a 1-1 draw with Sporting at the Emirates in the second leg of the round of 16, Arteta’s side were dumped out on penalties.

Portuguese opposition has proved problematic once again this season in the Champions League, as Porto also brought Arsenal all the way to penalties but David Raya’s superb performance in the shootout saw Arsenal over the line.

Arsenal are now hoping to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions for the first time since 2009, with six times winners Bayern Munich standing in their way.

Arteta said his Arsenal side have matured since last season’s Europa League exit and that his players have evolved.

He said: “Hopefully we are better. We have learned for sure a lot of stuff over the last few months. Players have evolved. We’ve all tried to improve and be better than we were a year ago and it’s been a really demanding season. 

“It’s a huge step for us to be in this competition and on top of that be competing in the Premier League the way we are doing. This is the challenge but as well we are so excited to be part of that.

When asked about what he has learned from that Porto tie, Arteta said:  “I think that evolution is not in relation to me. I think it will be in many other areas, not just because of a result, but as a club which is the most important thing. 

“We haven’t been in this position for 14 years. We haven’t been able to get to the next stage for 15 years! That’s a long time for this club. We realise that and that’s why we have this hunger and desire to make it happen.

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