Hector Bellerin says Arsenal are one of the best sides in the Europa League and Mohamed Elneny says the squad should prove it by winning the competition.
The Gunners made a solid start to their debut in the competition as they beat Cologne 3-1 at the Emirates on a night overshadowed by crowd safety issues and a delayed kick off.
Sead Kolasinac, Alexis Sanchez and Bellerin all got on the scoresheet in the second half after Arsene Wenger reshuffled his formation to counter a clunky opening 45 minutes.
“It’s a new competition for us and we knew we needed to set the tone,” Bellerin told BT Sport after the game.
“We think we’re one of the best teams in the competition, so we have to show that on the pitch. After not a very good start, the coach decided to change the tactics and it worked for us with Sead coming on, scoring and helping us to get a boost in the second half. I’m very happy.
“After not a very good start, the coach decided to change the tactics and it worked for us with Sead coming on, scoring and helping us to get a boost in the second half. I’m very happy.”
Elneny, who played the full 90 minutes in midfield, was similarly enthusiastic about the challenge posed by the new tournament.
“We always have different talks together as a team about this,” the Egyptian told Arsenal.com.
“One goal on our mind is to win the trophy which will be great for the club. What we want is to continue fighting for the [trophy], today was a brilliant start and we wanted to prove ourselves and that what we did.
He added: “It was such a difficult game against a tough German opponent. We played well and performed in such a great way on the field because we want to win the group and qualify to the next round.”