Arsenal fans could’ve been forgiven for thinking their side was heading to a 1-0 win over Slavia Prague after their late Europa League goal last night, but then again, this is the Gunners we’re talking about here.
The hosts wound up conceding a really avoidable late goal and now, the tie has completely changed heading into the second leg. Arsenal are the ones who need to go out and chase the result thanks to Slavia’s late goal, and after the game, manager Mikel Arteta gave his reaction to a disappointing night at the Emirates.
On the performance:
What was missing is that when you create big chances in Europe, you have to take them. I think we merited much more than the result that we got. When we made the most difficult thing, which was to score the first goal and just wait for the last four or five minutes and manage the game much better than we did, we failed to do that and then we gave them the opportunity in the corner and they scored the goal to tie the match and [put us] in a different position. Looking back to what happened on the pitch, it’s not what we expect.
On whether he expected more from the players:
I think the players stepped in and have absolutely everything. It’s a really difficult opponent to play against with the amount of individual duels and man-to-man situations they create and we managed that really well in certain moments. We were much more aggressive today, and ambitious to play the game we wanted to play and we created some big chances.
On believing we can still go through:
I totally believe we can go there and win the match, or I wouldn’t be sitting here. The mindset has to be to go there and score goals and win the game, because we need to score if we want to go through.
On the decision to leave Auba on the bench:
It was a big decision to leave some players out but we decided to play the team who had the best chance at the start of the game, and as well have some key players there to change the game when we need it. I think when they came on they had a real impact, which was very necessary in this competition and they did what we expected them to do.
On whether he should have made the changes earlier:
Well we made them when we believed it was the right time to do it, and when they changed their set up and we believed we could hurt them and not earlier. Whether should have done it before then, who knows?
On whether the team switched off for the equaliser:
I don’t think they switched off. We made a decision playing the ball into an area where we got trapped and from there we conceded the corner. But apart from that I don’t think it’s the case.
On it now being an old fashioned one-off cup tie:
It’s a good point, I think psychologically to go there at 1-0 is completely different to the 1-1. Now we know that we have to go there and win the game and we have to score goals. We cannot play any games, we have to go there with the determination to be an attacking team and hurt them.
On alterations between the players after the equaliser and the final whistle:
I don’t know, I haven’t seen that, sorry.
On it being a heated debate between Granit, Rob and Cedric and if he likes that:
It’s good that they talk. If we can do it before it happens, that’s even better.
On whether Auba understood why he didn’t start:
Well I cannot talk with everybody individually ever week, but we try to be transparent and communicate with the players as clearly as possible for them to understood the role that they have in the game. When he came on, he showed the right attitude and the right commitment.
On Martin Odegaard’s absence and how bad that situation is:
We don’t know, he wasn’t able to play today and he will be out I think for the next game or two. But we don’t know yet.
On whether he’s worked out why we keep surrendering leads:
Well, I think it’s very different what happened to Spurs and us tonight. They went with four strikers in the last few minutes and were really direct, being really incisive and they made it hard for us. But I said that we played one or two balls into areas that we should not play in the last, final minutes and that’s probably one of the situations for why we ended up conceding a goal. But after conceding the corner, they have to score from that corner, so then something has to happen.
On if he has concerns over his team’s mentality:
With my team’s mentality? No, I don’t have any concerns.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
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