Mikel Arteta blasts the Arsenal defence in loss to Olympiacos.
Mikel Arteta blames the Arsenal defence after the Gunners were eliminated from the Europa League by Olympiacos.
After taking a 1-0 lead into the first leg, Arsenal was expected to see off their Greek visitors, but they struggled at the back on the night and conceded two sloppy goals.
This season’s Europa League was one of the ways Arsenal were hoping to get back into the Champions League next season and they gave themselves a good chance of progressing by winning the first leg.
However, they have now been knocked out and Arteta admitted that it did hurt to leave the competition in that manner, but blamed his team’s defending for selling them out.
Arteta said as quoted in the Sun: “This hurts, big time. We had a lot of hope in this competition because it was a great way for us to be able to go into Europe.
“We created enough chances to win and even at the end we had an incredible opportunity but if you concede two set-pieces like this then you put yourself in big trouble.
“Obviously Bernd Leno could have done better at the end when he kicked it out for a corner but there was still another situation to defend and we didn’t do that.
“We conceded because of the second phase of that action when their player just steps in and taps the ball in from the six-yard box.
“That’s unacceptable and something that we have to improve on.
Arsenal now has to focus on making inroads into the Premier League’s top five before this season ends. They can also secure a return to the Europa League next season if they can win the English FA Cup.