Interview

Arteta We didn’t compete

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta was visibly crestfallen but offered no excuses after seeing his side fall to a potentially decisive defeat against Newcastle.

The 2-0 reverse at St James Park means that a top-four finish is no longer in our own hands, and we are relying on bottom-placed Norwich beating Tottenham on the final day of the season.

Having had a four-point cushion just a week ago, that’s a particularly bitter pill for Arteta to swallow.

After the game he spoke to Arsenal Media - this is what he said:

on whether we deserved anything from the game…
No. We deserved to lose and we probably deserved to lose by a bigger margin with the way that we have performed and the way that we have competed in this match.

on how he explains our performance tonight…
Right from the beginning they were on top of everything and we didn’t manage to get out of our own half, we put ourselves in trouble, we lost every duel, every second ball. We didn’t compete in the game in the way that game required to do so, and we never earned the right to get anything out of the game.

on what he said at half-time…
That we went through the storm of the game that we didn’t want to play, and we discussed before the match the game that we had to avoid and exactly the game that we were playing. We tried to change it and we started slightly better, but then obviously the first goal and the way we conceded the first goal hit us and we tried to change, we put our attacking players on and we changed formation, but we were so sloppy in everything that we did today.

on the frustration of top four being out of our hands…
It’s a really difficult night. We fought a lot, we went through a lot and we have generated an expectation that probably no one would talk about at the start of the season with the squad that we have, but we have managed to get through here basically with respecting certain principles and always competing in football matches, and tonight we haven’t done that.

on everything being possible in football…
In football it is always possible, that’s why tomorrow we have to lift ourselves up and be ready because on Sunday we have to beat Everton and then we will see what happens.

on his message to the fans ahead of Sunday…
First of all today, apologise, because this performance was nowhere near what this club deserves and especially because this club wants to play in the Champions League and this performance today is nowhere near that, and hopefully we will try to win the game, see what happens and play much better obviously than what we have done today.

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