Mikel Arteta was relieved to see his “unstable” Arsenal side survive a scare against Olympiacos in the Europa League, admitting “we were near the levels in which we can perform”.
Arsenal progressed to the quarter-finals of the competition 3-2 on aggregate despite losing to the Greek side 1-0 at Emirates Stadium on Thursday night.
Arteta was disappointed with how his team played in the second leg tie but he’s confident they will improve heading into the business end of the season.
“Really happy to be through. We had a tough opponent, so happy to be through,” The Gunners boss told BT Sport post-match.
“Sometimes we have to be fair with ourselves – we were nowhere near the levels we could be.
“We were unstable with the ball and we gave it away. It’s impossible when you give the ball away to have any structure. We created enough chances to win but were nowhere near the levels in which we can perform.
“We can’t use any excuses. We had fresh players in the side. We started the game really well but then we had lack of stability. We need to keep the ball and play some passes together and not just keep giving the ball away in transitions.
“When we conceded, we did get better and got more control but with their goal, we gave them some belief, which you cannot give to the opponent. We’ll get better. When it comes to decision-making and execution, it’s a little bit more difficult.
“We need another win in the Premier League and it’s a big chance after the international break to get a run together.”
Olympiacos took the game to Arsenal right from the off in north London as they sought to avenge their 3-1 defeat in Greece last week, withYoussef El-Arabi’s proving to be a constant menace for the home defence.
The Morrocan striker eventually made the breakthrough six minutes after half-time as his deflected effort found its way past Bernd Leno and into the net after Dani Ceballos was dispossessed cheaply in midfield.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe both missed good chances to equalise before Olympiacos has Ousseynou Ba sent off late on, with Arsenal ultimately settling for a narrow defeat thereafter to book their spot in the quarter-finals.
Arteta will now start preparing his players for a Premier League meeting with West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday.
The international break will come into effect after that fixture, with the Gunners not due back in action again until April 4 against Liverpool.
Aubameyang speaks out after being dropped for Spurs win
When is the Europa League quarter-final draw?
Elneny eyeing new contract at Arsenal
Source : goal.com