Mikel Arteta has asked his Arsenal players to get behind their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabonese attacker has been Arsenal’s top scorer since he joined the Gunners and he has been the most important player in Mikel Arteta’s setup.
Arsenal took a first-leg lead to their Europa League return match at the Emirates on Thursday, but they lost the game 1-0 in normal time.
Both teams scored in extra time and Arsenal lost the tie on away goals. Aubameyang had a chance to score and help Arsenal qualify for the next round at the death, but the attacker uncharacteristically fluffed his lines.
He later talked about how gutted he was to have missed such an opportunity and Mikel Arteta has praised him for not shying away from responsibilities.
Arteta said as quoted in the Sun: “He was gutted.
“Obviously he scored a wonder goal that put us through in the competition and the last kick of the game he had the best chance of the game and he felt very responsible about it.
“We’ll try to be right behind him. He’s been phenomenal all season for us and now the players have to support him, we have to support him.
“His reaction as well after the game — to face the media and the way he talked and everything — it was a very mature reaction from him.
“We trained Saturday. We were all very down, frustrated, disappointed.
“The first message to them was I am right behind them, thank you for the effort they put into the game, for the attitude and personality they played with and the way they reacted after we conceded a goal.
“They tried, tried and tried again. They completely deserved to win but there are aspects of the game that we have to dominate better if we want to keep competing at that level.”
Arsenal now has one route to the Champions League closed and they will be hoping to finish inside the top five now and make the competition if Manchester City’s Champions League ban is upheld.