Players no longer fear Arsenal, reveals Besiktas boss Bilic

The Croatian admitted that some of his troops were in awe of Arsene Wenger’s “big guns” in Istanbul but that their fine performance in the first leg has changed everything

Slaven Bilic has revealed that his Besiktas players firmly believe that they can turn their Champions League “dream” into reality by beating Arsenal on Wednesday night.

The Croat’s side held the Gunners to a 0-0 draw in last week’s play-off first-leg clash in Istanbul but created enough openings to have won the game.

Bilic still has some regret over his team’s failure to turn their chances into goals, particularly in light of the second-half dismissal of Aaron Ramsey, but he has taken great encouragement out of the fact that his players no longer have any fear of facing such illustrious opponents.

“We showed from our performance in the first leg that we are capable of giving them a game,” the Besiktas boss told reporters on the eve of the second leg at the Emirates. “We played well.

“We had our chances and they had theirs. We were not totally happy with the result as I think we deserved to win, but we go into this game full of confidence.

“I was confident and my staff were confident before the first game. But maybe some of our players had a little bit of doubt because they had not played against those so-called ‘big guns’.

“But after the game they were very confident, which I don’t mind as long as you do not become big-headed.

“We are not the favourites. They are the favourites – they are Arsenal – but we have a dream, a hope.

“It’s more of a plan, though, and we are going to do everything we can to fulfil it. We have prepared our game, our plan. I have big belief in my assistants and they are going to do the job.”

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