Arsene Wenger admits his joy at returning to former club Monaco is tempered by his desire to help Arsenal progress to the quarter-finals against the odds.
The Gunners arrive in France knowing only one side (Ajax vs Benfica in 1969) have turned around a European Cup home leg 3-1 deficit, but the boss insists that if his side play with discipline and at ‘full power’ they can find the necessary goals to keep their Champions League dream alive.
“For me, personally, it’s a very special moment because I was a young coach here at Monaco and I stayed here for seven years,” Wenger told his pre-game press conference on Monday evening.
“It’s a Champions League game so I know the experience I have gained can help me make the right decisions. I’m able to separate the importance of the game from [my responsibility] to my club and the delight at being back in Monaco.
“Is it not as enjoyable [visiting when 3-1 down]? Well I wouldn’t say that, for me the way to enjoy it the most would be for us to do better and to turn it [the tie] around.
“My real pleasure would be to come back here and see my friends in a non-competition environment, but here I’m here for work and my actual work, my job, is to help my team win.
“Of course, I have a lot of respect and I want to thank the whole club who gave me the opportunity as a young coach.”
Asked how his side plan to score three goals at the Stade Louis II, Wenger underlined the importance of showing patience.
“I believe we just have to play with full power, but not forget our organisation and the structure in the team. The goals will come when they come.
“[We must] focus on the quality of our game on both sides, defensively and offensively, and nobody can predict when the goals come.”
Reflecting on the first-leg, he added: “We got it wrong in the first game. What you want in life is the chance to put it right. We have the opportunity to put it right and after, no matter what, we will be ready to give everything to do it.
“We are in a position where today Monaco is favourite. We can go there and create something special. I believe that we will have the desire to do it and give absolutely everything to do it.
“I’d prefer to be 3-0 up but we have no choice. We have to put it right. Sometimes in life, you make a big mistake, and there’s no comeback, no way you get the chance to put it right again. In football, you can do it, so let’s just give everything to do it.”