Nacho Monreal has stated that Arsenal’s goal for the season is to secure Champions League football for next term, whether that be through a top-four finish or winning the Europa League.
The Gunners take on Manchester United on Sunday at the Emirates, with the Red Devils just one point ahead in fourth spot.
United are in fine form of late and will pose a big challenge to the hosts, but the Spain international is aware of what is at stake as the fight for a spot in Europe’s top club competition heats up.
“We don’t know in what position we will finish, but our target for the season is to finish in the top four,” Monreal told Sky Sports. “That’s the club’s target and we’re going to fight for that.
“We can do it two different ways – the first is finishing fourth in the league, this is our idea and, if not, we will have the opportunity to win the Europa League and play in the Champions League next season.
“I hope we get our target. The club is improving a lot. We have been working will in the last few years but probably the last two, we went down a bit and we didn’t qualify for the Champions League – this was our target, honestly.
“We want to get back to playing in the Champions League next season, that’s what we’re fighting fot and we have the opportunity. It’s been tough this season, fighting Chelsea and Manchester United for just one place, but it’s in our hands.”
Arsenal’s last meeting with Man Utd didn’t go to plan, losing 3-1 in the FA Cup to a side revitalised under Ole Gunnar Solskjar, but Monreal is confident the Gunners have learned enough from that defeat to give them a real chance at home on Sunday.
“We learnt a lot [from the FA Cup defeat],” the defender said. “Since they changed manager, they have improved a lot. That’s the truth.
“Jose Mourinho is a good manager but obviously he had a lot of problems with the players. Since he left, Manchester United has grown a lot. They’ve won most of the games they’ve played and they look like a better team.
“But we’ve arrived in good form. I think most players are fit, full of confidence and commitment. We know that it is going to be tough, but the good thing is we are in a good moment.
“They beat us two months ago so it’s going to be a good opportunity for us to know where we are, if we honestly have a chance to qualify for the Champions League.
“If we get the three points it is going to be very important for us, we’ll take a step forward. If we lose, we’ll get another chance, but in our mind we want the three points continue on our way.
“We have a lot of similar things – we had a new manager at the beginning of the season, they changed theirs a few months ago.
“We are fighting for the same target in this moment of the season so you could say we are very similar. It is going to be very tough but small details will make the difference in these games.”