Arsenal FC v SL Benfica  - UEFA Europa League Round Of 32 Leg Two
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'I don’t want any excuses': Frustrated Arteta sends stern message to Arsenal players

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta faced the media after his side lost the game against Olympiacos at the Emirates last night.

The Gunners’ first-leg dominance saved the day. The performance yesterday was very similar to the one last year when the Greek giants come to our backyard and knocked us out of the competition.

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Thankfully, our loss yesterday didn’t matter too much, but Arteta was still furious after the game. He let his players know in his press conference that the performance was nowhere near the level required, and he made it clear that tiredness or nerves are just excuses that he did not want to hear.

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He said, as per Arsenal.com: “I am pleased because we are through and last year we went out by them. If I have to evaluate the performance with what we’ve done today with the ball in particular, then it’s nowhere near the standards we have set for ourselves.

“We made it really difficult because we didn’t have any stability when you give the amount of balls away that we have in the game. When that happens, you don’t have the control to manage the tie in the way that we should have done and that’s related to the amount of chances we missed again.”

Asked if tiredness was the reason, he said: “We have to manage to play every three days, we have to manage to play the ties, we have to manage to play when we are in front or behind. It’s football and I don’t want any of those excuses. I’ll say it again, it’s not anywhere near the level we want when we’re on the ball.”

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Arsenal Insider’s view:

Arteta will be hoping that every player in the squad listened to his words in the press conference yesterday.

The level of our performance in the first leg was on a different planet compared to last night. It almost looked like we were a bit complacent going into the game yesterday, and that is absolutely unacceptable at this level.

The only positive is that even if we were terrible for most parts of the game, we still created excellent chances. It’s a shame that we missed all of them, and it is clear now that we have to raise our game to have any chance of going all the way in the competition.

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