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Arteta’s words after Arsenal’s loss against Sporting CP In The Europa League
Arsenal suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Sporting CP in the Europa League, with the game ending in a penalty shootout. The Gunners were left with a mountain to climb after Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba were both forced off with injuries in the first 20 minutes of the game. Despite taking the lead in the first half, Arsenal couldn’t hold on and ultimately lost the game on penalties.
Speaking after the game, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta expressed his disappointment at the loss but praised his team’s effort and mentality. He also addressed the injuries to Tomiyasu and Saliba and their potential impact on the team’s Premier League run-in.
Arteta started by expressing his disappointment at the result: “A huge blow. We really wanted to go through and fight in the competition and go for it. Today, we tried for 120 minutes and the penalties, and it wasn’t enough. First of all, congratulations to Sporting CP for going through.”
He then went on to discuss the difficulties the team faced after losing two players early in the game: “Looking at ourselves, the game started difficult for us. Obviously, we lost Tomi early in the game and Saliba. That really left us with difficult in-game management.
We only had a window to make the subs, and a few players could not play for 90 minutes. But still, we didn’t find our rhythm and our flow. We allowed too many spaces, were late and didn’t win enough duels there. We gave the ball away many, many times. Sometimes time after time.”
Despite the difficult start, Arteta was proud of the way his team fought back in the latter stages of the game: “And then the last 20 minutes, we got the flow and the momentum, we got into the final third much more and created three big chances, and we didn’t score. I think when we went to extra time, we showed incredible energy again and top mentality when it wasn’t our best day to keep going. We had another two big chances, we didn’t win and at the end, it comes to the penalties, it’s a lottery, and today it didn’t go our way.”
Arteta also spoke about the injuries to Tomiyasu and Saliba and their potential impact on the team’s Premier League run-in: “Tomiyasu looks pretty serious, for his reaction straight away and what he said to me. Obviously, it’s very early and difficult to know. William, I don’t know. He had some discomfort and could not carry on, so we had to take him off.”
He added, “We’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season. We had Emile out for four months, Gabriel Jesus out for four months, Alex for two and half months, Thomas for a month and a half, and Eddie for a month and a half. We had many injuries already, but we dealt with that.
The disappointment is not going to go away, the disappointment is there now but it brings clarity. There are 11 games to play now, 11 Premier League games and we have a final against Crystal Palace. We have to recover all the energy and put our focus there and play better than we did today. Put the same effort as today and win.”
Arteta also addressed the decision to substitute Gabriel Jesus and how it was part of the team’s game plan: “Yeah, and we decided to do that because we had to manage the subs and thank God that we took him out, especially after the two windows that we had to use in the first half, but that was the plan and he was coming from an injury as well. We knew the game could go to extra time and we have to manage that and he looked okay.”