Granit Xhaka says Arsenal paid the price for a terrible second half performance that saw them running scared of Watford.
The Gunners, despite a disjointed showing, went into the break in a commanding position courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace but the home side pounced on individual errors to deservedly draw level.
After the game, Xhaka was honest enough to admit that his side were lucky to take a point.
“We’re disappointed,” he told Sky Sports. “We paid for the second half today.
“We had a good first half, played very well, played together. We had a good balance between offence and defence, we scored, went two-nil up. We went to the dressing room, everything was good. Everyone was happy.
“After we came out and we played such a bad second half. We paid for this. We have to say we’re happy to take a point.
“Everything [was wrong], from the first second of the second half until the last. We didn’t play our game. We were scared. We know that Watford would push us more than in the first half but in this position, we have to show more character. We have to play, we have to not be scared.
“We didn’t have the character anymore like we did in the first half. We were too scared in the second half. They pushed us more than in the first half, but alright, we knew that, we spoke about it. But you can’t give a performance like this in the second half.”
Having conceded as a result of giving away possession from a goal kick – Sokratis’ pass was intercepted by Gerard Deulofeu allowing Tom Cleverley to score from close range – the Swiss was asked about whether the Gunners would change their policy of playing out from the back.
“We train like this, we work like this. Of course, mistakes are here. It’s not an excuse. Next time we have to do better. We have to analyse the mistakes, the kick-off and after we’ll see. We need to look forward.
“We train like this, it works good. Today, it did not work once. It was not only this situation. We lost the game all second half.”