Press conference

Arteta on elimination, injuries and our fans

Mikel Arteta was in understandably sombre mood as he faced the media on Thursday night.

Following our elimination at the semi-final stage of this season’s Europa League, the boss fielded questions on the mood in the camp, his message to our supporters and the condition of several players.

Here’s everything he said:

on the evening and how the dressing room is feeling...
We are devastated. We had so much enthusiasm and desire to be in that final. We knew how much it meant to the club, to the fans, to ourselves to be in that final and have the chance to win a title and be in the Champions League next season. It's a huge blow. The night started in a difficult way, losing Granit and having to change straightaway and put in another player who hasn't featured for a long time. In the first half, we weren't good enough with the ball and I think we had a lot of problems with our build-up to get anything clean into the final third, to dominate the game, to have composure and a little bit of confidence. We changed it at half-time, we were much better, but in the final moments we hit the post twice and we missed a chance with an empty goal.

on what he can say to the fans to assure them this is a project to get behind...
We have to show them on the pitch, not talking. We are hugely disappointed because we wanted to deliver something special to them after the difficult season that we had. But when you play in these knockout games, you need your best players at their best and many things happened where we didn't have enough of those in the best possible condition. But still like that, we fought until the end and I think today, in the second half, we deserved to win the game 1-0. If it had happened, we would've been through. But we didn't do it and there is a reason for that.

on whether Lacazette could've come on earlier or if he couldn't due to injury...
No. He was only available to play 10 minutes, 15 minutes maximum. We were already taking a risk because he hasn't trained fully with the team, but he wanted to take that risk and we believed that it was worth taking it. That was the maximum that he could play.

on if we have made progress this season...
Obviously, looking at everything right now it's hard to focus on that. I understand that and I leave it to you guys.

on both sides suffering injuries...
When we had the chances, we have to put the ball in the net. Again, I'm saying we haven't played at our best over the two legs. Certainly in the first half an hour in Villarreal and the first half today.

on if his job is now under threat...
I think everybody's job is under scrutiny.

on Unai Emery...
I think throughout his career he's always been a manager that behaves in the right way.

on Kieran Tierney...
We had Cedric in hospital 24 hours ago and when Granit got injured, that was the only option that we had.

on if Cedric is OK...
Yeah, he's fine now.

on if he believes he can pick the players up...
I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't

on how he can do that...
You will see it. It's not about talking it's about showing it on the pitch.

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