Koscielny believes teamwork is key

Defender Laurent Koscielny feels teamwork will again be the key to Arsenal's hopes of cementing their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal

The Gunners head to Italy three points clear at the top of Group F and all but secure of qualification after responding from the disappointment of a home defeat by Borussia Dortmund by winning in the Westfalenstadion last month and then beating bottom club Marseille on Matchday Five.

A draw against Rafael Benitez's men would be enough to clinch first place and with it seeding for the knockout stages.

Indeed, Arsenal could lose and still progress depending on the final scoreline at the Stadio San Paolo and Dortmund's result in Marseille.

France international Koscielny, 28, believes if Arsenal can maintain their strong team ethic, then the Barclays Premier League leaders have a real prospect of making an impact in the latter stages of Europe's elite club competition.

"We need to give everything and work as a team. We are all pulling in the same direction and I hope it continues like this because we have some really good players," Koscielny said in an interview with www.uefa.com.

"It is up to us to maintain this winning mentality."

Koscielny added: "We are on the right track and it is always nice to get a head start in the Premier League.

"The (Premier) League season is very long and so is the Champions League, so we need to remain focused and keep doing the same things.

"We must continue showing good movement, playing our passing football and defending as a unit. Every player on the pitch is important."

Koscielny has formed a strong partnership with German international Per Mertesacker, which helped record another clean sheet in the 2-0 win over Hull on Wednesday night which kept Arsenal top of the table.

It is a combination which is also keeping club captain Thomas Vermaelen on the substitutes bench.

Koscielny hopes the pairing can continue to develop as the Gunners lay down a marker both at home and in Europe.

"We communicate a lot. We know each other well and talk on and off the pitch," he said.

"I don't think much has changed this season, but we understand each other more and there is a good atmosphere off the pitch."

Napoli may have been beaten 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium back in October, when club-record signing Mesut Ozil marked his arrival with a superbly-taken first Arsenal goal, but the Italians have won both of their home European matches so far.

Nevertheless, England midfielder Jack Wilshere feels Arsenal have to adopt a positive attitude in Naples to maintain their own momentum.

"We want to win every game, but especially in the Champions League. It is a massive, massive competition," he said.

"All the top players want to be playing in it and it is no different here.

"There is no better place to play than in the Champions League in the last 16, the quarter-finals and we want to be doing that."



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