Per Mertesacker says Arsenal's failure to use their counter-attacks effectively cost them two points against Everton.

Arsène Wenger's side had to settle for a 0-0 draw on Tuesday night in a highly-competitive game at Emirates Stadium but they opened up their opponents as Everton started to tire late in the game.

Arsenal's pace on the break created chances for Olivier Giroud among others but the home side could not find a winner.

I think we defended well, especially the back four and Aaron and Mikel. We always covered each other

Per Mertesacker

"[We're] happy with the clean sheet but absolutely not happy with the draw," Mertesacker told Arsenal Player afterwards.

"I think, especially in the second half, we were more on the ball and much better in the game. Everton were a good side, especially in the first half. But then they dropped a bit and we had a couple of chances but couldn't use them properly to get three points.

"They put us under pressure and in the second half there was more room and more space for us to play. There were quite a few good counter-attacks when they were disorganised but we couldn't score and that is a disappointment. We had to use them."

"We tried to get more out of the game than one point so it's a bit disappointing. At that stage of the season, you have to win these tight games and it was one of those games which was very tight.

"But I think we defended well, especially the back four and Aaron and Mikel. We always covered each other. Anichebe is a strong guy but he had a lot of problems with our response. That is a vital thing for the future."

The immediate future brings an increasingly tight race for third and fourth place with four sides competing for two Champions League spots . Arsenal are two points ahead of Chelsea and Tottenham having played more games but their closest rivals have yet to meet.

"They play against each other and Everton have tough games as well," noted Mertesacker. "It's absolutely tight and hopefully for us we can win our important games, especially when we look at Saturday away at Fulham. That's the next target.

"We are in an interesting position and we've come back very strongly. We've responded well in the last couple of weeks and we're still on a good run."

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 Chris Harris 17 Apr 2013