Arteta names key flaw that made victory ‘impossible’ for Arsenal

Mikel Arteta admitted that Arsenal had no excuse for their disappointing performance in the second leg of their Europa League round of 16 with Olympiacos – exploding the number of times they gave the ball away.

Arsenal may have lost in the night, fall to a 1-0 defeat, but that was not enough to reverse their lead in the first leg. Overall, they progressed with an aggregate victory of 3-2.

It was not, however, the performance they would have hoped for. Even the first step raised questions about them.

Arteta defended his principles after this match, but has now admitted after the second leg that there are areas where they need to improve.

He said BT Sport: “Really happy to have finished. We had a tough opponent, so happy to be at the end of it.

“Sometimes we have to be fair with ourselves – we were far from the levels that we could be.

“We were unstable with the ball and we gave it away. It is impossible to give the ball to have a structure.

“We created enough chances to win, but we were far from the levels in which we can perform.

“We can’t use any excuses, we had new players on the team.”

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Arteta wants better ball retention

The second leg against Olympiacos was not the first time Arsenal have made possession errors, although that did not deny them a place in the quarter-finals.

Arteta remains confident they will have a better handle on the style, but knows it has to happen quickly as they prepare for a busy time in the season.

He continued: “We started the game really well, but then we lacked stability. We have to keep the ball and play a few passes together and not just keep giving the ball away in transitions.

“When we conceded we got better and got more control. But with their goal, we gave them a certain belief, which you cannot give to the opponent.

“We will be better. As far as decision-making and execution goes, it’s a bit more difficult.

“We need another Premier League win and it’s a great chance after the international break to have a race together.”

READ MORE: Aubameyang draws the line under the problem that saw him abandoned by Arteta

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