Mikel Arteta believes a lack of cutting edge in the second half was to blame in our FA Cup defeat to Southampton.
We attempted 11 shots in the fourth round tie – eight of which came after the interval – but we were unable to find a way through the resolute Saints defence, and our cup dreams are over for another season.
Here’s what the boss told Arsenal Media after the game…
Mikel, our FA Cup defence comes to an end in the fourth round at Southampton. Just how disappointing is that and what are your thoughts on today's game?
Very sad because we wanted to progress in the competition. Disappointed with the way we lost it and the way we conceded the goal but we know that we should not be doing that in that area of the pitch. Then when we had our moments and our chances, we didn't hit the target. That is really complicated to go through.
You mentioned in a previous post-match interview today about the number of unforced errors that your side had. Why do you think that was?
Sometimes because the opposition does well and forces you to make those errors. This is a really high-pressing team and you have to be really sharp and know really well what you have to do in every area. Then it's about execution and it's about the way you lose that ball, in which areas you lose it against these types of teams. It's something that we have to be better at.
We dominated possession, especially in the second half. Why do you feel we weren't able to find that cutting edge?
Because we missed the chances. You're not going to have 10 or 12 chances against this team. They're really organised, they make it hard for you. But when we have three or four, we didn't hit the target. It could've been a different game if we did.
As unfortunate as the goal was that we conceded, it's the first goal that we've conceded since Boxing Day so there have been marked improvements defensively. How do we find that consistency going forward?
By working hard, keeping insistent in our structure, what the roles of each player are, having the same mentality. We need to be really difficult to beat and organised. Individually, afterwards you need to defend with your lives.
Southampton away on Saturday is completed, Southampton away on Tuesday in the Premier League. How useful is it to be playing against the same team again?
It's always strange. I think nobody likes to play the same team twice in three days. It's what it is so let's review the game, try to lift the players up because that was a big disappointment for us, and be ready for another battle.
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