Mikel Arteta admits his Arsenal players are ‘hurting lots’ after extra-time Europa League loss to Olympiacos

Youssef El-Arabi’s 23rd goal of the season in the dying moments to send last year’s beaten finalists out by away goals

Adam Hamdani
Friday 28 February 2020 00:16
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Mikel Arteta assesses routes to Champions League return

Mikel Arteta admitted that his Arsenal side are “hurting a lot” after they were knocked out of the Europa League by Olympiacos in extra time.

Holding a slender 1-0 advantage from the first leg in Greece, Pape Abou Cisse forced extra-time with a 53rd-minute header at the Emirates Stadium.

With the game closing in on a penalty shoot-out, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Mikel Artetta’s side 2-1 up on aggregate on the night with a goal in the 113th minute, only for Youssef El-Arabi’s 23rd goal of the season in the dying moments to send last year’s beaten finalists out by away goals.

“It hurts a lot,” Arteta admitted after the match. “We had a lot of intentions in this competition. It was very important for us. Emotionally it has been a very difficult game.

“We tried and tried and tried, we threw everything at them. They defended very deep. We managed to score though and we were through but then we conceded a late corner and it was another set piece.

“To attack against 10 players is a very difficult thing. I felt we created enough chances to win the game comfortably. It didn’t happen but we had to manage the game much better in the final five minutes.”

Arteta also insisted that his side had not taken their Greek opposition lightly.

“The players knew it would be a difficult game. It is cruel,” he added.

“It is a massive disappointment but at the same time I am very proud of the players.

“It would have been an incredible lift if we had managed to go through the tie. The players have my backing for the way they played but it is painful.”

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