Round of 16 updates: 16-22 March

All the latest from our team of correspondents

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The Arsenal press conference is delayed so we will be receiving updates from Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim first:

We approach this game in the same manner as ever. We are not thinking about the result; we just want to play and produce some good football. Arsenal did not take us lightly in the first leg, it's just that we had the perfect game. We are at half-time in this tie. We are two goals up but this game will be the most difficult of our season so far.

When you are against a team like Arsenal, you must stay focused. We have changed our defensive system a few times but we have always performed on the pitch. That is one of our strengths.

Everybody wants to go far in the Champions League. We started slowly in the league and we have always been more consistent in the Champions League. Against English teams, PSG and Monaco are showing that we can produce real quality.

©AFP/Getty Images


Nabil Dirar, Monaco midfielder:

We know that nobody expected us [to play] at this level. We enjoyed the first leg but Arsenal are a great team.It will be difficult. We must do the job in order to qualify. Our coach asked us to play this game like the others [in this competition]. We will not wait for them [to attack]. We will play as if it was 0-0. We want to have a big game. Arsenal are here to qualify. They are here to win. So are we - we have the potential to go through.

©AFP/Getty Images


Now we hear from Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger ahead of his side's last-16 game against the Ligue 1 side. The French tactician says Gabriel (hamstring) is available but Tomáš Rosický (illness) and Chuba Akpom have not travelled to France.

Monaco are in a very strong position but we have experience, and the desire and belief that we can do it. So we are here to do it. We will have to play on full power, focusing on our offensive and defensive games. The desire is there.

I am confident. The odds are stacked against us, but we will give absolutely everything to turn the tie around. We will show a different face. In the first leg we failed, which was surprising given our form. We have a second chance and we will exploit it.

©AFP/Getty Images


German defender Per Mertesacker joins Wenger at the Arsenal pre-game conference ahead of the clash in France:

We have a good level of confidence, the mood is very good in the squad. We will have to show a different face tomorrow. Monaco have a good team but we are confident. We are in a very positive state of mind. We have a second leg to repair what we failed [to do] last time. We want to learn from our mistakes. We need a big performance tomorrow. We spoke a lot to each other, we try to improve our unit, we analyse things. Mentally sometimes we cound not take the pressure but we moved on and now we are confident we can beat any team in the world.

©AFP/Getty Images


More from Wenger as Arsenal seek an unprecedented comeback in this competition after losing the home tie 3-1:

It is a special moment for me but experience allows me to manage the pressure. We must have a great game, do our best and give our all. If we did not believe in ourselves we would not have turned up.

Back to Spain now for the Atlético press conference. Mario Suárez joins Diego Simeone.

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First up is Atlético midfielder Mario Suárez:

Every match is important. We will play to reach the quarter-finals and it’s very important [to progress]. If I get the opportunity to play I will try to do my best to help my team. They have an advantage and we must play to win and try to score the first goal.

Our coach told us clearly what we have to do. We must be competitive, intense and fight for every ball.  We will play in front of our supporters and we know we have to do our best to get a goal. All our forwards are international players that will score sooner or later. We are not worried about that and I’m sure they will score tomorrow. Our supporters are always important but the important thing is what happens on the pitch. We have to play a very good match to get a positive result. Bayer have proved to be a great team.

Diego Simeone, Atlético coach:

Koke is one of the best midfielders around in terms of reading the game. When he is at his best, he allows us to play more dynamically because of his quick mind.

Bayer are a vertical team, they play very direct football. They have great speed in their forward line – we have to avoid the situations we couldn't avoid in the first leg. Our goal is to win. We must be quick in the transition when they lose the ball.

I want a noisy [Vicente] Calderón that pushes us to get things done. I don't want a moment's silence. The best way to win is by playing football. In life and football there are times when things don't go well. We have to keep working and keeping the faith. We need cool heads.

The blog's day is done but coverage is stepping up a notch or two on Tuesday. Be back here tomorrow, our reporters will have the latest news from Tuesday's last-16 second-leg ties as Monaco host Arsenal and Atlético face Leverkusen.

The UEFA Champions League MatchCentre will bring you minute-by-minute text coverage from both games as well as audio commentary from the Vicente Calderón, updates from France and analysis on the Matchday Live panel show.

©Getty Images

Good morning. Today we will be looking forward to tonight's ties as Arsenal eye a piece of UEFA Champions League history in Monaco and Leverkusen face a formidable challenge to overcome Atlético at the Vicente Calderón (pictured). Stay right here as our reporters bring you the latest from all the last-16 contenders and the quarter-finalists.

Some early reading to whet your appetite ...

Atlético v Leverkusen background
Monaco v Arsenal preview

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Christian Châtelet, Paris

Alessandro Massimo

Andy James, Dortmund

Andy James, en route to Dortmund

Aurélien Sagner

Chris Burke

Dúnia Martín Hernández

Graham Hunter, Barcelona

Ian Holyman, Monaco

Joseph Walker, Madrid

Lucy Turner, Barcelona

Marcos Prieto, Madrid

Paolo Menicucci

Philip Röber

Rob Daly, Matchday Live host

Steffen Potter

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