Jack Wilshere was under no illusions that Arsenal need to improve if they are to make an impression on the Champions League after they progressed to the knockout stages with a 2-0 victory over Montpellier.
Second-half goals for the 20-year-old – his first in almost two years – and Lukas Podolski made sure of at least second place in Group B after leaders Schalke beat Olympiacos.
The Gunners must now win in Athens in a fortnight to stand any chance of finishing top and so head into the last 16 as one of the seeds.
“We started off sloppy,” said Wilshere. “But we’ve still got one game left. We need to finish top.
“The first half was hard – we were sloppy, we gave ball away and weren’t ourselves so needed to come and get an early goal. We have to step it up.
“Tonight wasn’t good enough, especially in the first half.
“We’ve got to play the best teams to win it so it doesn’t matter who we get.”
Wilshere ran to embrace the Arsenal physio after scoring and of his own recovery, he said: “It (fitness) will come - I’ve never been injured before so I can’t tell you how long it will take.”
As Manchester City were crashing out following their 1-1 draw at home to Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund guaranteed progression as Group D winners with Robert Lewandowski scoring twice in a 4-1 thrashing of Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA.
Porto and Paris St Germain will play off in Paris next month to determine the winners of Group A after both sides underlined their progression to the knockout stages with easy wins tonight.
Porto remain a point clear at the top of the group after a 3-0 home win over pointless Dinamo Zagreb, while the French side also rubber-stamped their qualification with a 2-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine.
Malaga went through as Group C winners despite blowing an early 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Zenit St Petersburg in Russia.
Milan’s 3-1 win at Anderlecht sees them join Malaga in the last 16. The goals came from Stephan El Shaarawy, Philippe Mexes and Alexandre Pato.