Jack Wilshere thought Arsenal would score more goals after Alexandre Lacazette broke the deadlock against ten-man Atletico Madrid before Antoine Griezmann’s equaliser ensured the visitors escaped with a draw.
Diego Simeone’s side sat back and soaked up pressure all night as the Gunners repeatedly probed in and around their box. When Wenger’s men finally scored on 61 minutes it looked as though they had the momentum to establish a solid lead ahead of the second-leg in the Spanish capital only for calamitous defending to cost them dear.
While the 1-1 result is far from a disaster, Wilshere, who set up the Gunners goal, knows that his teammates will have to take their chances in the Wanda Metropolitano if they are to make the final in Lyon on 16 May.
“I was thinking let’s go at them and really put them to the sword,” Wilshere told Arsenal.com when asked what he thought would happen after Lacazette’s goal.
“We were dominant in the game and I felt we started really well and that helped us, but we should have scored early on so that it could settle us down a bit.
“We came out in the second half and knew it would be more of the same. They were going to sit in and try hit us on the counter attack and we had to be patient and move the ball. W
“We done that and got the goal and I really thought we were going to get two or three, but unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Now we need to regroup and take the positives from tonight and take them to Madrid.”
Having won the Europa League twice in the last decade and with a Champions League final and semi-final under their belts in recent season, Atletico are canny operators at the top end of European football. Their ability to soak up pressure and score on the break came as little surprise to Wilshere.
“We knew what type of team they are – they were always going to try to hit us on the counter and I thought we dealt with that pretty well and defended really well.
“They had a bit of luck off the keeper but at this level that’s a massive goal for them. But at the same time we’re confident that we can go to Madrid and with the chances we created tonight, we are definitely going to create some chances and hopefully we’ll put them away.”
He added: “We’re going to have to take the positives from tonight as we created loads and loads of chances and they have a great goalkeeper, but at the same time we found ways through their defence and we have to keep doing that. Hopefully, a little bit of luck will be on our side on the night.”