By Lloyd Webb
Steve Gatting says losing in the FA Youth Cup semi-final to Manchester City is a “bitter pill to swallow” despite Arsenal's encouraging performance.
The under-18s drew 2-2 in Monday night's second leg at Emirates Stadium, consigning them to a 4-3 aggregate defeat despite taking the lead in both legs of the tie.
"It was a great game for the under-18s to play, especially at Emirates Stadium, and the biggest game of the season. They didn’t let themselves down. At times, we played some really good football"
Chris Willock and Donyell Malen were on target in front of more than 4,000 fans at Emirates Stadium, and Gatting says his side were the better team for periods of the game.
“I thought the first half was excellent,” he told Arsenal.com. “It was a bitter pill to swallow coming in a half-time 2-1 down when City had hardly got into our half. Saying that, it could have been down to our poor defending. It was disappointing.
“Over the two games, there were points when we were the better side by far. In both games, we went goals up and couldn’t hold on to it.
“We had some harsh decisions from the referee that didn’t go our way, too. When we were attacking in their half, we had some good opportunities and put the balls into the right areas. At the other end, we weren’t decisive enough with our decision-making.
“It was a great game for the under-18s to play, especially at Emirates Stadium, and the biggest game of the season. They didn’t let themselves down. At times, we played some really good football.”