Mikel Arteta Reacts To Arsenal's Elimination From The Europa League, Following Defeat To Sporting CP.

 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta criticised his players for giving "every single ball away" during their Europa League defeat to Sporting at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night.

The Gunners were knocked out on penalties following a 3-3 aggregate draw and now must turn their attentions back to the Premier League title race. 

The North London side edged in front thanks to a Granit Xhaka goal midway through the first-half, but a Pedro Goncalves wonder-strike from long range took the tie beyond 90 minutes and the Portuguese visitors went on to triumph 5-3 in the shoot-out.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was left frustrated by the "huge blow" of a Europa League round-of-16 exit to Sporting CP on penalties and lamented his side’s wastefulness in possession.

“It’s a huge blow. There were moments, especially in the first 75 minutes, that we weren’t at our level,” Arteta said after the game.

“We gave every single ball away and we didn’t have the capacity to dominate the game and take the game where we want it.
“It’s true that the last 15 minutes and in extra-time we had chances, and when it goes down to penalties there’s a lot of uncertainty, and we lost it.
“We didn’t put the ball under pressure enough and whenever we got the ball in dangerous areas, we gave it away. We gave it away consistently and that created an open transition game that we didn’t want to play.

“Now we just look at ourselves and why we weren’t good enough to go through,” Arteta added.
“Congratulate Sporting, then after that we have 11 games and the first one is Palace, which is a final.

“Every work we do right now has to be towards Palace and we have to be better than in this game.”

Arsenal’s focus now switches back to the Premier League, where they are five points clear off second placed Manchester City as the Gunners bid to win a first league title in 19 years.

They next face Crystal Palace next on Sunday, when they can extend that lead to eight points, with City in FA Cup action.

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