Arsenal press conference: Mikel Arteta on Europa League exit and poor Gunners display

Mikel Arteta is set to face the press after his side’s 0-0 draw with Villarreal at the Emirates Stadium in their Europa League semi final second leg which saw them go out 2-1 on aggregate.

The Gunners went close on a few of occasions as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck the woodwork twice but ultimately hardly laid a glove on Unai Emery’s side.

It was a performance bizarrely lacking in urgency, energy and creativity from a side who needed to score to have any chance of going through to the final of the competition.

Arsenal will most likely not play European football now for the first time in 25 years unless they are able to pull off a miraculous finish in the Premier League where they currently sit ninth.

Mikel Arteta will likely face criticism for his tactical decisions across the two legs which saw him outsmarted by his predecessor in both matches.

Here is what he had to say:

On how he plans to turn things around

You will see it. It’s not about talking it’s about showing it on that pitch.

On whether he thinks he can pick the team up

I wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t.

On Cedric’s condition

Yeah he’s fine now.

On why Tierney was chosen to replace Xhaka

We had no choice. We had Cedric in hospital 24 hours ago.

Arteta on whether his job is under threat

I think everybody’s job is always in scrutiny.

Arteta on whether Lacazette could have played more

No. He was only available to play 10 minutes. 15 minutes maximum. He wanted to take that risk and we believed it was worth taking it.

Arteta on why Arsenal went out

We have to when have the chances we have to put the ball in the net. This is the other motive why we are not through.

Arteta on whether he feels pressure on his job

I feel the pressure all the time because I want to do as good as I can for the team. Today is a big disappointment because we tried everything to be in the final.

Arteta on his young squad

For 90% of them it was the first semi final of any competition and we have to learn from that.

Arteta on why Arsenal lost across the two ties

It’s various things. The way we started in Villarreal it wasn’t good enough. Set pieces. We didn’t arrive here at the best moment with everybody to give their best like we did last year in semi finals and finals.

Arteta on what went wrong for Arsenal on the night

I think we were very imprecise with the ball. Probably we were a bit tense as well. In the second half I think we were much more dominant and created enough chances in the tie to win it.

Arteta on why Arsenal struggled

With so many players injured, one with malaria, one pulling out it’s too much.

Arteta on Xhaka’s injury and its impact

It changed our game plan completely because we prepared everything in that position with Granit where he gives us so much.

Arteta talking to BT after the game

Yeah we are devastated really disappointed but we have to congratulate Villarreal. I think over two legs and what happened today in the second half we deserved to win the game. For me it’s very important that at the defining moment you should have everybody available at their best. And so many people trying to compete but not at their best.

Kaya Kaynak

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