The Spaniard was disappointed to see his side fail to hold to a 1-0 advantage in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final tie
Mikel Arteta bemoaned Arsenal’s missed chances after a 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague on Thursday night, while admitting that the “final result leaves a difficult taste”.
Arsenal saw Nicolas Pepe’s 86th-minute opener cancelled out in the last seconds of the Europa League clash at Emirates Stadium, with Tomas Holes scoring an all-important away goal for the visitors.
The Gunners will now have to beat Slavia in the Czech Republic to qualify for the semi-finals, and Arteta feels his team missed a good opportunity to establish an advantage in the last-eight tie.
What’s been said?
The Spanish head coach told BT Sport after the final whistle: “It’s difficult because they were a good opponent. They have beaten some big teams and are really difficult to play against. They have a lot of man-to-man situations and you have to resolve them. When we did that, we created chances, but when you can’t, it’s not easy.
“We were effective in our high press – they had the capacity to run in transition if they won the ball back but we controlled that well. It’s more about the final result that leaves a difficult taste.
“The game was under control. We got the goal we wanted but we missed some big chances as well. We played two or three balls we shouldn’t do and we put ourselves on the back foot and conceded the corner. They put bodies in there and it can happen. It changes the feeling after the game.”
Slavia have the final word at the Emirates
Arsenal were made to work for clear cut chances throughout the first leg clash with Slavia, but were often guilty of wasteful finishing on the occasions that they did manage to find a way through their stubborn rearguard. Willian hit the post from a free-kick and Alexandre Lacazette struck the bar after racing through on goal.
They Gunners only managed to make the breakthrough after the introduction of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Pepe, who linked up with four minutes of normal time left to play, with Pepe charging into the box to receive a ball from his team-mate before producing a delightful dinked finish past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Slavia were not to be denied, though, with Holes stealing in at the back post to head home a flick-on from a corner in the third minute of stoppage time, sparking wild scenes of celebration among their coaching staff on sidelines.
Arteta will now have to dust his players off ahead of a Premier League meeting with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday, with the Gunners set to travel to the Czech Republic for the second leg of their tie with Slavia four days later.