Mikel Arteta felt his side were inspired by having fans in the stadium as Arsenal beat Rapid Vienna 4-1 in the Europa League.
Fans have been absent due to the pandemic since March but 2,000 were allowed inside the Emirates. They watched their heroes put on a superb display to clinch top spot in Europa League Group B.
Alexandre Lacazette scored a wonder goal while Pablo Mari and Eddie Nketiah also notched before the break. Emile Smith Rowe added a fourth in a dominating display by the north Londoners.
There were many positives for Arteta to discuss but he began by paying tribute to the fans.
“First of all, delighted to have fans back they make a huge difference,” he told BT Sport. “We had 2000 but they were loud and they were supportive to the team so thanks to them for coming and making the effort.”
And the Spanish tactician felt it was going to be a good night when he saw how eager his players were to please.
“The boys wanted it I could see from the start they wanted it, they were hurt from previous game they showed the attitude and desire that is required,” he added. “We were aggressive, we wanted to put the ball in the box we created chances.”
There is the small matter of a north London derby on the horizon. Arteta knows it will be tough and hopes his men can replicate their European form.
“We haven’t been as ruthless in the final third in the Premier League as we have in Europe, but I liked the reaction of the team and the performance today,” he continued.
Lacazette glad to see fans
The Emirates welcomed back fans for the first time since March and they played their part. Only few in number, their voices could be heard and the players certainly got a lift.
Lacazette was delighted to see even a small number of spectators and agreed with his boss that they made a difference.
“It was amazing – we were so happy to see the fans today it really helped us during the game, even in bad moments they pushed us to play good obviously we played well it was good football,” he told BT Sport.
And speaking about his goal, he added: “Was really good, really nice when fans are behind us. Was not easy for me this last couple of weeks but to see the fans behind me and the team – I really enjoyed tonight so thanks to them.”