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Mar 15, 2013

Arteta keen to build on Bayern defeat

Arsenal manager says his side's exit from the Champions League highlights the flaws in the Premier League's strength.

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has warned his team-mates that their Champions League victory against Bayern Munich on Wednesday cannot be marked down a one-off night of heroism in an otherwise disappointing season.

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Arteta's rallying call to his team-mates after the Gunners lost on away goals to Bayern in the last-16 of the Champions League will be a timely reminder that they have plenty still to play for this season, even if the club's hopes of a trophy have evaporated for an eighth successive season.

"This win has to give us confidence but we must keep our feet on the ground as well because we haven't been at the consistency level that is required," he told the Arsenal website.

"I am convinced we can compete but the details against big teams are massively important and for me the frustrating thing is when we lose games and the opposition does very little to win.

"If they play better than you, as Bayern did in the first leg for 25 to 30 minutes at Emirates Stadium, you put your hands up and say 'listen, they are a terrific team'. But in some of the games we have lost this season, that wasn't the case and that's why we have to cut it out straight away.

"The line is very thin when you win and lose. The perspective of things is very different but we have got the characters and the desire. How many teams would do what we did when they've lost 3-1 at home to Bayern Munich? Let's be consistent, that is the main thing for us now.

"The Champions League is massive for us and we have to do everything we can to try and make sure we are back in there next season."

Meanwhile, a report in Friday's Daily Mirror newspaper claims captain Thomas Vermaelen and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could both be on their way out of Arsenal this summer after they were dropped for Wednesday night's Champions League clash in Munich.

Wenger's public declaration that Polish stopper Szczesny is suffering mentally due to the pressures of playing for a top club hardly suggested his long-term future at Arsenal is secure, while Vermaelen was left out of the starting line-up after a series of high profile errors in recent games.

The Arsenal manager will get a chance to respond to the speculation over the futures of Vermaelen and Szczesny when he hosts a press briefing ahead of Saturday's Premier League game at Swansea on Friday morning.

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