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Arsenal boss Arteta reacts after Europa League win over Molde.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta pleased with win against Molde. [Getty]
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta pleased with win against Molde. [Getty]

Arsenal confirmed their spot in the next round of the Europa League knockout stages with a comfortable 3-0 win over Molde on Thursday night.

The Gunners were frustrated by the Norwegian club in the first-half but the homeside failed to score despite dominating.

But, as soon as Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe found the back of the net just after the break, Arsenal grew in confidence and ripped the hosts apart.

More goals from Reiss Nelson and Folarin Balogun sealed the 3-0 victory which eventually clinched their position as group winners with two games left to play.

Following the clash at the Aker Stadium, Arteta was asked if qualifying for the next round early helps give young players more time on the pitch, he replied as quoted: "Yeah but they have had chances even from the first game. We decided to give them chances because you have to give them real opportunities. For me to play them in friendly games is not a real chance.

"You have to give them the right competition and you have to surround them with senior players and big players around them. Then you can assess whether they're at the level, whether they have the personality to play at this club, how they react to good and bad moments and this is what we are trying to do.

"To play the next game, they have to earn it, just like everybody else in the squad, because we want to finish first. I think we are using our young players well in the competition."

On Nicolas Pepe’s performance, the Spaniard said: "I am really pleased. After the disappointment of something negative, you want to see a reaction and I could see from the first minute with his body language that he was ready to act.

"I think he had a great performance, he scored one goal and could have scored another one or two. He created some good moments in the game and worked really hard for the team, so I really like it, I am pleased with that."

Speaking of the Gunners young players linking up to score last night, the manager asserted: "I think it was a great combination from Dani [Daniel Ceballos], Kieran [Tierney], Emile [Smith-Rowe], and Flo [Folarin Balogun], and Emile is a player with an incredible talent. He's the got ability and the quality.

"Mentally, it is always a challenge because the demands are so high, the pressure is high to play here and you need to hit those levels to become an Arsenal player. It's down to him as well. I really like him and he's a player that if we are a little bit patient [with], we have a great player there."

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