Mikel Arteta has warned Arsenal’s players that they must make ‘massive’ improvements if they are to compete for major silverware after Thursday’s uncomfortable 2-2 draw with Sporting CP.
The Gunners went ahead midway through the first half through William Saliba but conceded twice for the second consecutive game to find themselves chasing the match.
Sporting midfielder Hidemasa Morita inadvertedly turned a Granit Xhaka cross into the back of his own net to earn Arsenal a draw from the first leg, after which Arteta was particularly unimpressed.
“It’s true that it’s something that we must improve massively if we want to keep winning games,” he told BT Sport.
“When you concede two poor goals like we did away from home in Europe it’s very difficult to get a positive result. We gave too many simple balls away.
“Today we didn’t defend well enough, and we have to do better up against our opponents.”
Arsenal have kept just two clean sheets across their last ten games in all competitions, conceding 12 goals acros that time, and Arteta warned his side that they cannot afford to continue their sloppy defensive performances.
“We are conceding too many simple goals and we’ve talked about the importance of boxes, and especially in a competition where you are in or out,” he explained. “Today we didn’t defend that well enough, and we have to do better up against our opponents.
“We’ve had a lot of really emotional games recently, and today we made a lot of changes, meaning that cohesion needs some time. You could feel that in the first 10-15 minutes that we needed some time to adapt and to click, but if we don’t expose them, that’s never going to happen.”
On this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeou reacts to Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Sporting CP in the Europa League.
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