Arteta reflects on "painful" loss at Fulham

After seeing us lose 2-1 to Fulham, Mikel Arteta admitted that the defeat at Craven Cottage was a tough one to take.

Goals from Raul Jimenez and Bobby De Cordova-Reid cancelled out Bukayo Saka’s early opener, and the boss admitted that the performance we put in didn’t live up to the high standards we have set over the past couple of seasons.

“It was a painful defeat and a really sad day,” he said. “Three days ago we lost a game that we totally merited to win, but today feels really different. We weren’t anywhere near the level and we didn’t deserve to win the game.

“In this league you have to play at a really high level for 100 minutes and we haven’t done that today. I don’t like to find excuses, especially when we lose. We could have played much better than we have done, and we haven’t done it and that’s the reason we lost the game.”

The loss saw us miss out on the opportunity to move to the top of the table as we ring in 2024, but Mikel believes that being in the hunt for the title at the midway point proves we’re moving in the right direction.

Next week sees Liverpool arrive at Emirates Stadium for FA Cup third-round action, giving us the chance to bounce back with a statement win as we switch gears away from league action.

“Today we had a chance to be top of the league after 20 games, and that tells you the consistency and the quality that we have shown in the first half of the season,” he added. “But the reality is that today we are in pain because we have lost a game playing in a way we don’t want to.

“We have to reset and take that defeat away with us. It will be painful for a few days, but we have to move on.”

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