• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Odegaard warns teammates ahead of Champions League draw

Martin Odegaard=2

Ahead of Friday’s Uefa Champions League draw, Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard has warned his teammates they cannot afford to carry an inferiority complex heading into the draw.

Arsenal‘s 14 years of wait to reach the quarter-finals of the Uefa Champions League ended on Tuesday as the Gunners beat Porto 4-2 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw on aggregate.

Leandro Trossard, courtesy of Odegaard’s assist, put the home side back on terms in the tie shortly before half-time, but thereafter Arsenal struggled to put their obdurate opponents to the sword.

And so it was left to goalkeeper David Raya to produce the heroics with two saves that booked Arsenal’s place in the last eight where they could draw the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Manchester City.

Despite having made hard work of their last 16 tie, however, Odegaard insists Arsenal cannot afford to live in fear of facing a traditional European heavyweight in the next round.

“To be honest, we can’t think like that,” he replied when asked if there was anyone he wanted to avoid in Friday’s draw.

“It’s the biggest tournament in the world and, no matter what team we get, it’s going to be a good team. We will just take what we get and we will try to win.

“That’s where we want to be. We want to be on the biggest stage. We want to play the biggest games and fight for the biggest trophies. When I came here I believed in the project, in the club, what they were doing, everything around the club, I believed in it – and now we are doing well.

|”We just have to keep pushing each other and make sure we get a little bit better every day. We will see where it takes us.”

Those improvements could also yet take Arsenal to its first Premier League crown in two decades, having fallen agonisingly short last year. After leading the way for 248 days of the campaign, they were pipped at the post by Treble-winning City.

However, a 2-1 victory over Brentford on Saturday followed by a draw between City and Liverpool means Arsenal will be top heading into the international break.

They travel to the Etihad Stadium on March 31 and Odegaard wants the win over Porto to act as fuel for their title drive.

“I think it is a massive boost for everyone,” the Norwegian midfielder added.