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Arsenal set focus on reaching UCL quarters for first time in 14 years

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After finishing the weekend at the top of the Premier League standings, coach Mikel Arteta says his Arsenal are fully focused on the Champions League now.

Challenge: Arsenal host Porto tonight Images. Picture: Reuters, Peter Cziborra

After finishing the weekend at the top of the Premier League standings, coach Mikel Arteta says his Arsenal are fully focused on the Champions League now.

The Gunners have to wipe out a 1-0 deficit in Tuesday night’s Round of 16 second leg against Porto at the Emirates Stadium if they are to advance to the tournament’s quarter-finals for the first time since 2009/10 when an Arsene Wenger-led side lost to Barcelona.

But now, high on confidence and aiming to wipe out Brazilian Galeno’s stoppage-time curler from outside the box, Arteta says: “The Premier League is done, we’re not going to play a game for 19 days and now the full focus is on Porto.

“We can achieve something that we haven’t done in 14 years [by reaching the quarter-finals] so that’s the challenge ahead of us.

“More of that support [we had against Brentford this past weekend] or better please against Porto because it will give us a great chance to go through.”

He adds of where things went wrong in the first leg: “We have to manage much better. We cannot win with the way we handled the ball on three occasions in deep areas.

“If you want to be in the quarter-finals, you have to beat your opponent, and this is what we will have to do at home now. Porto are a team that’s very well organised defensively and they break your rhythm all the time.

“There are certain things we will have to do much better. We know what to expect.”

Porto coach Sergio Conceicao says of taking a one-goal advantage to the Emirates: “The players must be happy with what they did [in the first leg]. There was little time to work, but there was a lot of determination. The team understood perfectly the spaces they had to step into to condition our opponents and also what we had to do up front to hurt them …”

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