Press conference

Every word from Mikel's post-Bayern Munich presser

Mikel Arteta during our game against Bayern Munich

After suffering a painful exit in the Champions League, Mikel Arteta handled questions from the media in his post-match press conference.

Topics covered included the fine margins and key moments in the two legs, Bayern's setup, our squad's development and where it leaves our Premier League challenge.

Here is everything he had to say:

on his thoughts on the game:
Obviously very sad and disappointed with the final result. It was a tie of very small margins – in the first leg, we conceded two very poor goals and that has a big effect in the tie. We were still alive, came here and I’m really proud of the players, how they stood up, the way they tried to play, what they tried to do, especially in the first half. It was a game that you could see either an error or an individual or magic moment that would decide the tie. The margins are so small. We didn’t defend our box well at all in that action and we ended up throwing everything and trying everything, not having enough to score a goal and have an option to go through the tie.

on if he has any concerns with the performance:
Credit to the opponent as well, it’s very difficult to break opponents down, especially when they play the manner that they play which they never do. But we had our moments, especially in the first half. In the second half, we struggled a little bit more to keep that rhythm, that momentum. With the changes we tried, in a different way. They are never games with big, big chances, very rare to see that at this stage of the Champions League, but it’s the moment to be next to our players, to be thankful of the journey that we’ve been involved with together. Unfortunately, at the end of today, it is painful but we have to learn from it.

on if tiredness was an issue that led to Bayern’s belief:
I don’t think it was about belief. Obviously, the goal put them in a very different position, they kept adapting and making changes to defend even deeper, but I saw the players really willing, trying their best. It wasn’t enough, that was true, to get the magic moment that is needed in this competition, to unlock it, to make something happen when the game requires us to open that door. We didn’t have it and that’s why we’re out.

on if the game was too soon in our development:
We haven’t played in the competition for seven years; we haven’t been in this position for 14 years. There’s a reason for it, and we want to do everything. Fast forward, super quick in one season and after we had the capacity and the quality to be in the semi-final, because the margins have been very small. But those margins sometimes are coming from something else, that maybe we don’t have yet. We have to learn it, when you look historically, all the clubs to get to certain stages, it took them seven, eight, some of them 10 years to do it. Today that is not going to make us feel better, that’s for sure.

on how we can bounce back from two consecutive defeats:
I wish I had today the right words for the players to make them feel better. What I'm going to do for sure, all the staff, all the coaching staff, is be close to the players. I feel so grateful to be their coach and to work with them every single day. And what they need is that we stand right next to them, give them our support, our love, and I will have to pick it up because on Saturday we have a big, big, big game. We're still playing for a Premier League and I would really want it. We have to show now that we are capable of turning this around.

on whether he was surprised by Bayern's defensive display:
No, because they were very similar at the Emirates and we expected that approach but they believed that obviously it was the best way to beat us. Credit to them and congratulate them for sure for what they've done because they've done it really well and when there were little margins, they were slightly better than us and that's why they are through.

on what makes the difference in games like these:
There were three big moments in the first leg and it didn't go our way, and that's a big factor and we will all learn from it. Me, the first one because I'm the maximum responsible for that and I will try to be better next season.

on how painful tonight's result is:
Yeah, it's there and it's not going to go away, certainly tonight, but I can guarantee you by tomorrow we are fully focused on Wolves and everybody's lifted. What we still have to play is beautiful and I said before, it's time to be next to our players and in this moment, not when you win 10 in a row and a draw, that's easy to prize our players and to be behind them and to say really nice things. The moment is now to be next to them.

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