Andries Jonker says Arsenal Under-19s “have to make a step up” if they are to challenge for this season’s Uefa Youth League title.
The young Gunners slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Olympiacos in their final group-stage game after failing to recover from Georgios Manthatis and Dimosthenis Chantzaras’ first-half goals.
Despite the loss, though, Arsenal still qualified from the group stage on the head-to-head rule, but Jonker knows his side must perform better in their last-16 play-off fixture to have a good chance of reaching the next round.
"We knew before kick-off that Bayern had beaten Zagreb, so we knew we had already qualified regardless of our result. It’s obviously then difficult to focus 100 per cent after that"
“It was a disappointing performance,” the manager told Arsenal Player. “We lost and we never want to lose. We think we’re good enough to beat Olympiacos, so as we lost we are very disappointed.
“We know that they are a good team so it was difficult for the boys to handle that coupled with the Bayern result. We knew before kick-off that Bayern had beaten Zagreb, so we knew we had already qualified regardless of our result. It’s obviously then difficult to focus 100 per cent after that.
“Based on Wednesday’s performance there is a lot more to come from this squad. There were only a few short moments where you could see the potential. We were very far away from what is needed, but I am confident we have the talent to get there.
“We have huge quality in our squad. We have many players available with talent but we need to start performing as a team by being focused on absolutely top football. That’s another thing, to focus on what has to be done. The boys have to make a step if they really want to win this prize. We know we can.”
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