‘We really wanted to go through’: Mikel Arteta refuses to say Arsenal’s Europa League exit is a blessing in disguise… as Gunners boss describes Sunday’s home clash with Crystal Palace as a ‘final’
- The Gunners lost after a penalty shootout against Sporting CP at the Emirates
- Granit Xhaka fired Arsenal ahead before Pedro Golcalves’s spectacular goal
Mikel Arteta refused to agree Arsenal’s bruising Europa League exit could be a blessing in disguise and described Sunday’s league match with Crystal Palace as a ‘final’.
The Gunners lost after a penalty shootout ended a tough and long night at the Emirates Stadium for the Premier League leaders.
Granit Xhaka had fired Arsenal ahead in the first half before a spectacular goal from the centre circle put Sporting level, with Pedro Golcalves lobbing Aaron Ramsdale.
‘We really wanted to go through and fight in the competition and go for it,’ said Arteta. ‘Today we tried and it wasn’t enough.
‘First off, congratulations to Sporting for going through. We lost (Takehiro) Tomiyasu and (William) Saliba early on so it was difficult for our game management.
Mikel Arteta has refused to agree Arsenal’s Europa League exit could be a blessing in disguise
The Gunners lost after a penalty shootout against Sporting CP at the Emirates Stadium
‘We didn’t find our rhythm and flow, we were late, we gave the ball away many, many times. We found our flow in the last 20 minutes but we didn’t score.
‘We showed incredible energy and mentality but we didn’t win. The penalty is a lottery.’
Asked if the European exit is a blessing in disguise, the Spaniard added: ‘I don’t see it today that way. We wanted to go through and we put everything into it.
‘Our effort was incredible, we really wanted it but today it didn’t happen.
‘We have to look at ourselves. The things we could do better. We can’t rely on penalty shootouts to win a competition.
‘Now we only have 11 games and one focus. All the clarity and all the energy.
‘We have a final against Crystal Palace and we have to recover our energy, play better than today.’
Pedro Goncalves, Arthur Gomes, Dario Essugo and Jerry St. Juste celebrate after winning
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