Press conference

Arteta on defeat, taking chances and the top four

Mikel Arteta gave an honest assessment of our performance after we slumped to a disappointing defeat against Southampton on Saturday.

The result leaves us with a lot to do, with just seven games remaining in our fight for a top-four spot.

After the match, the boss discussed our performance, improving our goal threat and how we bounce back.

Read on for a full transcript:

on what he made of today’s result…
Difficult to explain because this is football and it is not basketball. With any other sport you win the games very comfortably and you are talking about different things. Difficult to explain considering [the performance], to lose that football match. At the end of the day it is decided in the boxes, they scored one goal, and for the amount of time that we spent around the box, and the shots that we had and the situations and the clear-cut chances that we had - we didn’t put them in the goal. Because they had an exceptional goalkeeper today, and as well we didn’t have enough quality and enough capacity to break them down when we had the numbers and the situations to do so. 

on how big of a missed opportunity it feels like, given the Spurs result earlier…
Huge. Because for somebody that doesn’t know the result and is watching the game, you know what they will tell you…that Arsenal won the game - and we didn’t. It’s very disappointing, and difficult to explain with words. But this is sport, it’s what makes it different to any other - because again in basketball you have 25 shots and the winner has one and you win 10 out of 10 times. 

on whether not taking our chances is what is separating us from the very top sides…
It is what we have. The players that we have, they haven’t done it in this league. When you have a world class player that has been playing in the league for 10 years, probably you are not sitting here. But I am the first one to defend them, to support them. You see how [hard] they tried, and the only way to do it is to insist and what happened today might happen the next week or the next month. 

on how he’s planning to improve our goal threat in the upcoming games…
Well something clicks and instead of the ball hitting the post - like it did twice last week and hit the goalkeeper and gets deflected and goes outside - [instead] it goes in. This is very difficult to predict, because to create more - I can’t remember a game where Arsenal has played with this team, where they have created and dominated in a game more and better. But the result is what at the end we need to be where we have to be, and if we are not able to do that we aren’t not going to be there - it’s as simple as that. Because you don’t have enough quality to be there, because we have to win football matches and we have to score more goals, and that’s a problem we have at the moment. 

on how difficult it will be to pick the squad up after this defeat…
They are really down today, and they are down because they cannot find the right answer apart from what we can do better around the box, and not to win the match. That’s the frustration - when somebody is better than you you shake their hands and you have to do something, you have to believe yourself you have to be critical of yourself. But when it’s happening the way it happened - apart from 25 minutes against Palace, and some period against Brighton in the first half - it’s very difficult to explain, and accept. 

on whether Lacazette might return to action this week…
It will depend whether he’s negative and whether he is feeling better and if his symptoms have gone and if he’s available to play.

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