Rice hurting after Champions League exit

After seeing us exit the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich, Declan Rice was gutted that a tie that could have gone either way ended up falling the way of our opponents.

Joshua Kimmich’s second-half header proved to be all that separated us and the six-time European champions over 180 minutes of football, and our midfielder admits that he and his teammates are frustrated that one moment prevented us from potentially reaching a first semi-final since 2009.

However he felt there were positives to take from our performance in one of world football’s toughest places to get a result and against some of the continent’s best players.

“We're gutted, we are distraught really,” he said. “It's just difficult to put into words. Over the course of the two legs, we had a great chance to go 2-0 up in the first game, and then we then had an uphill task because we went behind 2-1, but we managed to bring it back to 2-2. We came here after Sunday, and we were feeling refreshed and ready.

“You saw a reaction in the first half especially. We played with confidence, but were just lacking that cutting edge. But again, it comes down to the boxes and we conceded a goal which is unlike us, and to now go out with a header like that in a game that didn't really have much in it, that’s the most disappointing thing to be honest.

“I'm hurting. I came into this game full of hunger, desire and passion. I wanted to just get over the line for this club and so did all the players as well. You could see it in everyone, everyone was so hungry together.”

This was our first foray into the Champions League for seven years, and the furthest we’ve gone in 14. However for many of the players - Declan included - it was a first taste of the competition as they juggled the demands of playing against elite sides amongst the rigours of the Premier League.

That will only stand them in good stead going forward as we look to once again be a fixture in Europe’s premier club competition, and the England international is now urging his teammates to show what they’ve learnt between now and the end of the season with so much still to fight for.

“What I take from it is that it's a learning experience,” he added. “We're a young group. There's a lot of demand and pressure on us now to deliver and rightly so because we're good at what we do.

“This is Arsenal Football Club, one of the biggest clubs in the world, and we need to stand tall and be counted for. And, that now goes back to Saturday. We've got Wolves away, and that's where our big reaction is going to happen.”

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