Parlour urges Boro to learn from Arsenal mistakes

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The Independent Online

Ray Parlour has urged Middlesbrough to learn from Arsenal's difficult education in Europe to fuel their own attempt to gain success on the Continent.

Ray Parlour has urged Middlesbrough to learn from Arsenal's difficult education in Europe to fuel their own attempt to gain success on the Continent.

The Teessiders begin the group stage of the Uefa Cup against Egaleo in Athens tomorrow night having climbed to fifth place in the Premiership with Saturday's 4-0 demolition of Blackburn at Ewood Park.

However, Parlour, who was part of the Gunners squad which struggled in Europe despite repeatedly claiming the biggest honours on the domestic stage, is confident that they can learn from the experiences of Arsène Wenger's side.

"It's difficult," he said. "It's a totally new experience when you play away from England, travelling, hotels, the climate - it is going to be quite warm out there - and you have to go and overcome that.

"It's a learning curve. Arsenal struggled in the Champions' League in the first couple of seasons. We got knocked out in the first round, second round and never really got close to it.

"As much as they have dominated England in the last few years, we always struggled a little bit in Europe. But again, you've got to overcome that and you see them getting good points away from home now. That's the most important thing, not to lose, and if you can nick away wins, it's very important."

Parlour resumes Uefa Cup battle with bitter memories of the competition after missing out on a winners' medal in 2000 when the Turkish side Galatasaray beat Arsenal 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out. Parlour was Arsenal's only scorer from the spot after the match in Copenhagen ended in a 0-0 draw.

Boro are heading into the unknown as they open this latest phase of their campaign against the little-known Greek side, but Steve McClaren's team know the principles remain the same whoever the opposition.

"Most European teams and even English teams would say, 'Look, the most important thing is that we win our home games', and I am sure the Greek side will be exactly the same," Parlour said.

"They will probably think, if they have got any chance of progressing, they have got to win their home games and make it as hard as they can for the opposition, which they will do. It's important that we go out there and set our stall out, get very organised, keep it tight and try to get the crowd against them, really, which is very important.

"If they get shots on target, suddenly the crowd are boosted and it definitely boosts their own players as well.

"We've got to keep the crowd as quiet as we can and try to be a professional outfit and not let goals in."

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