Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin says it is vital for the club to finish in the top three of the Premier League this season.
Arsene Wenger’s side currently lie third in the table, only two points ahead of Manchester United, who they face at Old Trafford on Sunday, although they have a game in hand on their opponents this weekend.
And Bellerin thinks it is imperative for Arsenal to hold off United’s challenge in the final few matches of the campaign and seal a top-three finish and avoid having to take part in a two-legged Champions League play-off.
“It is really important and it will be a weight taken off our shoulders, because we have had to play in that game every year and sometimes, like last year in Besiktas, when we had to play away in Turkey, it is always hard conditions,” he told Sky Sports News.
“I think with the second part of the season we have been doing really well and if we did not finish in the top three, it would be really disappointing for us. But I think the team has got it in us and we can get more points, starting this Sunday against Manchester.
“We beat them in the FA Cup, so I think we need to play the same type of game and stick together. We had a little accident against Swansea at home the other day, but we need to think about all the other games that we have played before that game, and we know that we have been doing great.”
Bellerin, 20, has also predicted “big things” from this Arsenal team next season after the form the club have shown in the league since the turn of the year.
“By the way we have played, especially since January, I think we have showed everyone that next year in this form, we can do big things – League, Champions League, whatever is in front of us – I think we can challenge for it,” said the Spaniard.
“We have some great players – I am not sure if more players are coming in the summer – and I think the team feels way stronger than it was before. All the new players that have come in are now all together and every new signing is feeling like an important player, which is good.
“I think that we just need to finish the season on a high, so then hopefully we can pick up at the beginning of next season and start the league and the competitions with a bit more authority, which is something we did not do this season. And then hopefully it will not be too late, like this season.”