Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira has said his side 'deserve' Champions League football next season, and are prepared to stand their ground and fight with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United to achieve it.
The Gunners dropped to sixth in the table after defeat to Manchester City at the weekend, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's resurgent United and their London rivals Chelsea taking the opportunity to steal a march on them, but with three points separating the three sides with 13 games remaining, the scrap for European football looks as if it is only going to intensify.
And with Arsenal having missed out on the Champions League places in each of their last two seasons, the 22-year-old says they are keen to lift their recently stalling form under Unai Emery and give themselves a fighting chance of bucking that concerning trend.
"Just a few weeks ago, United were obviously behind us but it's happened and it's something we have to deal with," he told Sky Sports News (as relayed by the Evening Standard).
"We obviously don't want that form to happen again. As players, you always need to be fighting for an objective when you walk out onto the pitch and for us that means qualifying for the Champions League.
"We know it's not going to be easy, that's for sure, because we are up against some great teams such as Chelsea and Manchester United but we need to try and stand firm as a team and as a group and battle in every game."
He concluded: "The squad is focused on qualifying for the Champions League because a big club like Arsenal deserves to be playing in that competition."