Mikel Arteta describes "beautiful night" as Arsenal mark Champions League return with a win
Mikel Arteta spoke at his pre-match press conference about the win (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta praised his side's performance after their first game back in the Champions League ended in a convincing 4-0 win for the Gunners on Wednesday night, with the head coach describing the showing as "a joy to watch".

PSV Eindhoven put up little fight against the North London team, succumbing to three goals in the first half, before having another put past them with 20 minutes remaining in a convincing victory.

Arteta admitted his delight at the display, remarking how special the occasion was for staff, players and fans alike, having been absent from the competition for some time.

"It was a beautiful night," said the 41-year-old. "Obviously after such a long time, we wanted to produce the right performance to try to win the game.

"It was great to see the atmosphere, [during] the Champions League music everyone I think was getting a bit emotional before it. We showed, especially in both boxes today, we were exceptional and that was the difference in the game I think."

The head coach himself revealed that, despite what appeared a stony face on the touchline pre-game, he himself was also struck by the moment, reflecting on the progress he has made with his side over the past few years.

Mikel Arteta instructing from the sidelines (Photo by Hans van der Valk/BSR Agency\Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta instructing from the sidelines (Photo by Hans van der Valk/BSR Agency\Getty Images)

"I was really excited about it," he admitted, "I wanted to control and not show that too much but I was really excited. At the end it’s part of the journey.

"The journey started last year and we earned the right to be in this competition which is where we have to be as a club, and now as well we have a responsibility to produce what we have to to stay at this level."

Whilst the performance was a dominant one, with the Gunners controlling the ball and having the vast majority of the chances, there were various opportunities spurned by the hosts throughout the 90 minutes.

When asked by VAVEL whether he would concur with this analysis of the game, Arteta was clear: "I agree. Especially from box to box there were things that we should’ve done much, much better.

"Every single day you have to be at it, you have to be really analytical to try to improve. But at the same time credit to the boys, to play the way they played in certain moments and to score four goals in the Champions League against a team that hasn’t lost a single game, credit to them as well."

Delight for Smith Rowe

One player who hasn't featured much for Arteta's team this season is youngster Emile Smith Rowe, but the Englishman was brought off the bench around the hour mark to huge acclaim from the Emirates faithful.

Although his opportunities in the side have been limited of late, Arteta reiterated his support for the forward, and said he too was touched by the warm feeling that greeted Smith Rowe's arrival.

"Yes, we could manage the minutes of some of them, especially because where they were coming from and with their national teams they played a lot of minutes.

"And as well to give minutes to players that was fully deserved - I was really emotional when I saw the reception for Emile [Smith Rowe], he’s a player that hasn’t played much yet, and to get the reception that he got, it was well deserved and I’m so happy for him as well."

Given it was many of the player's first experience playing in the top club competition in Europe, some might have expected a few more nerves from a few members of the squad, but those didn't appear to be on show.

Arteta offered an explanation for why, pointing to their involvement in many high-profile games prior to their debuts in this tournament as good preparation for such occasions.

"To be fair some of the boys now they play at international level, and they have big roles in their national teams," Arteta said. 

"You can sense that as well, they are not just part of the squad, they have quite a lot of responsibility and they are big players there and that’s very helpful for the team."

Finally, there was a word on the mood of the squad after such an impressive victory, with the manager smiling as he subtly suggested that training tomorrow would be a little easier given the morale amongst the group.

"Winning always helps! When you see that dressing room, how happy they were today, the energy, if tomorrow I tell them to train, they will train for sure.

"Now we have three days to prepare [for] a big game again, a really special game for us, and we try to do it in the best way."