Press conference

Arteta - This result hurts, big time


Mikel Arteta did not attempt to hide his dismay after we were knocked out of the Europa League after losing to Olympiacos on away goals on Thursday night.

Our head coach faced the media after the game and discussed the performance, Bernd Leno, Shkodran Mustafi and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on how disappointing the result is...
It hurts, big time. We had a lot of hope in this competition. It was a great way for us to be able to go to Europe and it is a very beautiful competition to try to win. I think we did a lot of positive things in the game. I think we created enough chances to win the game, but if you concede two set-pieces again in a tie like this, then you put yourself in big trouble.

on whether Leno could have done better at the end...
Yes, obviously he could have kicked it out, but then there is another situation to defend. It's not only the first phase but it's the second phase of that corner that we concede and the player steps in and just taps in the ball in the six-yard box, which is unacceptable. It is something that we have to improve on. We've done the most difficult thing to react after that, to play against a team with 10 men behind the ball in 25 metres. And even at the end, we had an incredible opportunity to win it. Had we gone through energy wise, it would have given us a big lift again and [brought] everybody together. It is a big disappointment and I am right behind the boys, the way they played, the way they tried. The effort that they put into game was enormous and we have to move forward together.

on the team growing into the match…
I think in the first 10-15 minutes it was a little bit like this. I think as the game went on, we were getting better and better and they were playing deeper and deeper. We generated more than enough chances to win the game and we shouldn’t be talking about what happened now.

on taking our chances…
I think we have enough goal threat in this team, but we have to put the chances to bed and in Europe it’s in both boxes. In the opponent's box, we missed chances that should have been goals and in our box there were a few things that they had and they put them in. On the set-pieces we were vulnerable again so these are things to improve.

on the team’s emotions…
I’ve seen all the boys and I know how much they wanted this competition. I’ve seen today the way they fight and the way we try to play and it’s a difficult one to digest as a team and as a club. This is football and sometimes it is very cruel when the emotions are right here [raises hand high], then in another moment they’re somewhere else [lowers hand]. You have to able to handle that if you want to be in this industry so now it’s up to us and up to me to bring this place back in and move forward.

on Mustafi’s injury…
I don’t know [how bad it is]. He said to me ‘I cannot play anymore’. I’m not sure if it was a cramp or a muscle injury. I am sure there will be a few of those [types of injuries] because players were exhausted, they played four times in 11 days and it was physically a very demanding game.

on whether he expected his team selection to be enough to get the job done…
Yes, but it wasn’t the case, and again, details are so important in ties. We gave details away that you cannot afford. Even if not in the opposition box, you have to be ruthless, and we weren’t tonight.

on whether tiredness was a factor…
Yeah, it was, but this competition through January and December is really tough. The players are trying their best and they kept going until the last second of the game, even when they conceded the last goal. We had the best chance of the game to win it, but that’s football.

on how the rest of the season looks to him now…
I just want to concentrate now on lifting those players and getting back the belief, and convince them that there is still a lot to play for, and move on. It’s part of this sport that a big disappointment can happen and it happened tonight. We have to learn and react as a team and as a club.

on the experience as a manager…
I’m the first one, I have to lift them, it’s my job. That’s the first thing I have to do. First of all we have to digest it because it’s very, very painful tonight.

on if he’s scared that this result will undo his squad’s belief and confidence…
I hope not because I will try and show them what happened in the game and where the game should have finished, and the things that we didn’t do to finish the game the way that it should have finished. Hopefully it’s part of the process to learn from that and improve as a team.

on the difficulty of reaching the top four/five…
Very hard because looking at the table we’re still far from the objectives that we all have, but we’ve been far all season from it and we have to keep fighting. The most important thing now is that the dressing room has to be strong and we have to keep going and react. First of all, I have to convince them about what happened in the game and why they are not through in the tie. If they continue to do that, there will be rewards like we have done in the last 10 games that we played.

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