On not training in Madrid before the game...
We trained yesterday [Wednesday]. We just trained in England, before we flew. If you come to Spain and train, and get someone injured, you can’t do anything about it. Whereas we trained in England – we lost our captain, so we were able to do something about it in England. We couldn’t have done anything about it in Spain. So unfortunately that’s wrong, we did train yesterday. And no, I wasn’t surprised by Rayo at all. I actually watched them play two weeks ago, so I knew exactly what to expect.

On the importance of the first goal...
We started very slowly and the goal came from our kick-off, so we’re very disappointed with that. Then suddenly we have to come back, straight away, in the first minute, which is always hard.

On the atmosphere...
It was good. In England, we don’t tend to get that type of atmosphere or crowd. It’s good for the home team and it’s something that we’re not used to so it was good.

On the second half...
It became hard because obviously Rayo started to drop very deep and put ten players behind the ball, and then started to get us on the break. When you’ve got that number of players behind the ball, you’ve got to be able to have that bit of quality, which we didn’t have tonight. We found it hard to break them down. I’d agree - we didn’t play particularly well second half, but we had a lot of the ball, we just didn’t make a lot of chances.

On the second leg...
I’d hope to think we’d play a little bit better than we did tonight. We’re a good team at home. We like playing at home. We find it hard to play away, but that’s no excuse. But it will be hard to come back from 2-0. If Rayo get a goal away from home, that makes it even harder. So we’ve got to be a lot better than we were tonight when we play next week.

On what needs to improve...
We need to keep the ball better,  pass the ball better and try and actually make the goalkeeper make a save.

on the impact of playing so few competitive games...
It’s harder than it might have been. But I don’t think we should use that as an excuse to be honest. We knew that, prior to the last round and this round. We’ve tried to prepare as best as we can without having that league programme. I just think tonight we didn’t perform. And if you don’t perform then you don’t win football matches. We’ve had a bit of a shock tonight to the system - but we can turn the result around. I’m not stupid, I know it’s going to be hard, but we’ve got to go out there and believe that we can do that.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 5 Nov 2010