Mikel Arteta believes that lessons will be learnt & his side will be better ahead of the second leg in a week’s time after our 2-2 draw against Sporting CP this evening.
Speaking after the match, the boss said:
“We had periods in the game where we were in a lot of control, but we lacked a little bit of strength in the final third because obviously we had to adjust today with the players we did not have available. I think we conceded two very poor goals that we have to do better on and show much more determination to defend our box in those moments.
At that level away from home, it puts the tie in a really difficult position but we managed to react. We had periods in the second half where we were much better.
It’s a really tough opponent. Giving them hope like we did, especially with a lot of giveaways in our own half, that were too risky and it’s not worth playing the balls that we played especially against a team that wants to press the way they did. We learnt some things that we can do better at Emirates Stadium.
We have to earn the right to play, obviously the atmosphere will be really good for us, it’ll be really helpful. So we’ll watch the game and review it, and we’ll need a better performance next week.”
Mikel Arteta on Fabio Vieira who had a very good performance in Portugal tonight…
“Really happy with him. I think he deserves more minutes than he’s had in the last two months. You saw tonight he was probably our most dangerous player. He’s a player that I absolutely love.”
Mikel Arteta on if his side are conceding too many set pieces…
“It’s true that it’s something that we must improve massively if we want to keep winning games.”
Mikel Arteta also handed out a first start to January signing, Jakub Kiwior, who became the first Polish outfield player in Arsenal’s history and despite having to deal with a confident opponent who hadn’t been beaten in their previous eight games, Mikel felt that the young defender coped well…
“I think he was good, it’s the first time he’s played so it was a different partnership. When you make six changes to the team, that cohesion isn’t really there, and you can sense it especially in the first minutes of the half. After that, I think the team got better and better. Overall, I think he played a good game.”
Mikel Arteta on Kiwior/Turner mix up for the first goal…
“I don’t know what it was. It happens in a split second. For sure in that second somebody can’t have a free header.”