Q: How important is this Champions League run for you, Mikel?
A: “I think it’s one of them games that every one of us is ready to play. It’s a big pleasure to play for this club at that level. Tomorrow we’ve got a great chance, we are facing a very good team, but we are a very good team as well and we are very positive and we can’t wait for tomorrow to come and get a good performance.”
Q: How much does a game of this prestige lift the players?
A: “Obviously it gives you an extra motivation, because you facing top players and a top club, and you want to see how good you are playing against them. So we’ve got a great test tomorrow, and we want to face that test with the maximum desire and a positiveness that we have around the squad, and get out in the game and win it.”
Q: Have you watched many of their games?
A: “Yeah, we have prepared obviously. It is a club that is on TV all the time. You can recognise all the faces that we’re going to face tomorrow, so we know who we’re facing.”
Q: How do you go about stopping slow-starts?
A: “Well I think we have a great chance tomorrow to put that down. I think in the last few big games, we missed the first 20-25 minutes, and give the opposition probably too much respect and we’re on that case tomorrow and we want to face a different scenario and we’re going to get into the game and show that we’re there to win it.”
Q: It’s important to start well isn’t it?
A: “It is massive, because if you score first you’ve got a great chance of winning those big games and that’s a pure statistic thing. We know what we have to do tomorrow, and face them right from the off.”
Q: Is it something you talk about, because in the second half of matches you’ve been very good?
A: “Yeah I think the difference on the table in the Premiership in the first 45 minutes and the second 45 would be very very different. That tells that our qualities are very good and probably when the teams tire a little bit we show we are able to, but as well tell us we are not ready from the off.”
Q: How you find it to play with Jack Wilshere, and his big match mentality? Can he show his class?
A: “He has been showing his class, we don’t want to put too much pressure on Jack, he has been tremendous for us in the last few months. The character he’s shown to get back from a very difficult injury, a long period injury, and to get back to that fitness level and quality level in that short time is unbelievable. He’s got that personality and character, he’s a big winner, and we need players like that here.”