• Champions League

Szczesny: Arsenal must have Champions League football

ESPN staff
August 20, 2014
Wojciech Szczesny has been impressed by new signing Calum Chambers © Getty Images

Wojciech Szczesny is aiming for substance over style in the return leg of Arsenal's Champions League qualifier against Besiktas next Wednesday, insisting it does not have to be pretty.

Arsenal endured a goalless draw with their Turkish opponents in the first leg meaning a win at the Emirates will ensure progression to the main draw for the 17th consecutive season. But Szczesny believes they will have to improve in order to win.

"We always want to play better and the only thing we can focus on is getting a result in the second leg," Szczesny said.

"It doesn't have to be a pretty one but we want to get through and secure Champions League football.

"I thought it was very enjoyable. It was a fantastic atmosphere and a very tough game. It was exactly what you would expect from a Champions League fixture. It was a good test for us and we came out with a clean sheet which is a positive. We'll be confident going into the second leg."

Szczesny's comments echo the thoughts of manager Arsene Wenger, who conceded Arsenal are desperate to qualify for the group stage.

Szczesny also praised the impact of Calum Chambers, a £16 million signing from Southampton during the summer, after the teenager produced an impressive display on his Champions League debut.

Chambers was viewed as a back up to Mathieu Debuchy on the right hand side of Arsenal's defence but has since performed well alongside Laurent Koscielny in the absence of World Cup winner Per Mertesacker.

"He's been fantastic for us and adapted very quickly to being a centre back," Szczesny added.

"He only came in pre-season so he hasn't a lot of time to train with us in this position.

"You can't tell that he's only 19 years old, he looks like a very experienced centre-back. He's doing very well at the moment."

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