Arsene Wenger says Olympiacos will have to cope with the ‘fear’ of losing what they have when Arsenal visit Athens on Matchday Six.
The Greek side can secure qualification to the Champions League knockout stage at the expense of the Gunners even if they are beaten tomorrow, so long as they restrict the result to a one-goal margin and concede fewer than three goals.
Urging his side to take heart from big European performances in the recent past, Wenger spoke bullishly about being positive from the off.
“Let’s not forget Olympiacos are qualified at the moment but they can lose what they have. That can create a fear factor,” he said.
“We have a history of positive results, we have won everywhere in Europe and we know we can do it. We just want to focus on a top quality performance.
“If you want to jump over a hurdle, you do not think what happens if you miss it.”
Last year the Gunners came close to overturning a 3-1 first leg defeat to Monaco in the knockout stages by winning 2-0 away from home. Although they eventually succumbed to the away goals rule, the boss believes his side have a blueprint for their tactics in Athens.
“We can learn from that. The game we played was very positive, maybe we rushed it in the last ten minutes. That’s what we can learn.
“I believed we played quite well in that game. It is important that we focus on the performance and the goals will come. When the goal will come, I do not know. But when we play well we have a chance to score.
“We might need to be patient. We must go into the game with the desire to win, knowing that we have to get both parts of the game – attacking and defending – well.”
Despite rumours to the contrary – caused in part by the fact both Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey missed training – the Gunners squad is largely unchanged from the one that beat Sunderland on Saturday.
In addition to those that featured in the 3-1 weekend win, youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide will take a place on the bench.