Arteta: I have to lift the players, it’s my job


Mikel Arteta says he now has to convince his players that there’s still a lot to play for this season despite Arsenal crashing out of the Europa League.

Given our standing in the Premier League, there was huge importance attached to a run in Europe’s second-tier competition, not least because it represented a viable route back to the Champions League.

After crashing out on away goals to Olympiacos last night, the focus will return to domestic matters; closing the gap on the top four and trying to win the FA Cup.

In his post-game press conference, Arteta addressed a potential downturn in morale. “I just want to concentrate now on lifting those players and getting back the belief, and convince them that there is still a lot to play for, and move on,” he said.

“It’s part of this sport that a big disappointment can happen and it happened tonight. We have to learn and react as a team and as a club.

“I’m the first one, I have to lift them, it’s my job. That’s the first thing I have to do. First of all we have to digest it because it’s very, very painful tonight.”

Obviously a devastating blow like last night’s results could have long-term consequences, including the forced sale of big name players. For the time being, Arteta insists says he’ll just focus their minds on analysing what went wrong.

“I will try and show them what happened in the game and where the game should have finished, and the things that we didn’t do to finish the game the way that it should have finished.

“Hopefully it’s part of the process to learn from that and improve as a team.”

Arsenal have a chance to turn the page against Portsmouth in the FA Cup on Monday night. Then we’ll have to double-down in the league with matches against West Ham, Brighton, Southampton and Norwich.

Arteta is under no illusions, even with a run of ‘winnable’ games, he knows to close the seven-point gap on Chelsea is going to be tough, especially with so many other sides in the mix.

“[It will be] very hard because looking at the table we’re still far from the objectives that we all have, but we’ve been far all season from it and we have to keep fighting,” he admitted.

“The most important thing now is that the dressing room has to be strong and we have to keep going and react. First of all, I have to convince them about what happened in the game and why they are not through in the tie.

“If they continue to do that, there will be rewards like we have done in the last 10 games that we played.”

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Just when we thought Arsenal turned a corner….


Realistically, we did not suddenly become The Invincibles. Who *really* thought this would be a magical half season with 4th place, EL and FA Cup trophies, new contracts for all, and fairy dust all over. We would always suffer. We suffered every year even when we went to the final of the Champions League. It’s gutwrenching, heartbreaking and uttery punch-some-one-in-the-face-able, but Arteta is right. Thousands of football teams play football every week. They don’t all win. We know we’re very much still climbing a massive mountain to get to where we want to be – but this *must* still be… Read more »


Yes man, well said!


Turning a corner doesn’t mean winning every game. We have turned a corner, but there are a lot of things we still need to address.


There a lot more corners, which we can’t defend if we don’t stay ahead of the curved ball


Obviously we have improved but getting Champions League spot in this season looks a bit farther now…After this season we have to hit the repair mode….

Viva la prof

We have turned a corner padre, last night was simply a mother fucker, but it was what it was an unlucky result at the end of extra time against a team that parked the bus, this team actually had me excited trying get it back, and Aubas miss, again bummer, but this is sport, it was still amazing to me we got so close so late, I thought he scored, my blood was actually pumping, something that simply hasn’t happened since we beat the Spunts with that Manuel Emery dude. Anyway fuck Thursday Football, I was really disappointed when we… Read more »


Arteta shouldn’t have to convince his players of anything, they owe him the club and fans. He’s trusted and played the same players who have been rightly criticised by most of us and had seen an improvement by setting up the team to cover obvious faults. Fitness has been flagged as an issue, yet he didn’t rotate enough after a tough Sunday game and made his subs way to late. Arteta will definitely learn from this. Sadly as fans we know this type of shit performance in a must win game is never to far away with the players we… Read more »


“they owe him the club and fans”. I read the atmosphere yesterday in the stadium was as exciting as in a cemetery… maybe it’s time the fans gather all the time behind their players and not only when sun shines.

High gooner

Well, welcome to the emirates. We onlyseem to lift the players up when they show us something good on the pitch. I cant tell you how much i disagree with this. Look at MOST of the clubs in the world (for example Olympiacos) and you will see its the opposite. The FANS lift up the players through their engagement, and NOT the other way around.


Exactly what I’ve been saying for ages. Our supporters cost us so many games and trophies in Wenger’s last few years. One of the main reasons Leicester won the league and we didn’t that season, was their supporters stuck behind the team even when they weren’t playing well, and our supporters turned on the team at the first sign of difficulty.
If not the team, the Olympiacos fans definitely deserved the win, and our pathetic and entitled supporters, who couldn’t even be bothered to fill the stadium, deserved to go out.
Get AFTV out!


Indeed, I think Arteta in particular really hopes that the Emirates can become a fortress (of support, at least) in the coming years, as fans truly can become the 12th man. It’s certainly worked for other clubs.


This is a symptom of every big club, though. I’ve got a ST and have been to most grounds in the league at one point or another, it’s absolutely not solely an Arsenal problem. With the exception of Palace and Anfield (sometimes), it’s just modern football has become a whole lot less partisan. And to be honest, I was at the ground yesterday and it’s a long, long way from being the worst atmosphere I’ve seen. Lots of fans were trying but it’s difficult to provoke much of a reaction when any chant that does start up is met by… Read more »


Carnt put that performance on the fans and regardless of the noise in the stadium the players still need to produce.


Yeah keep passing the buck mate.

Alex Nagy

Extremely disappointing performance and result, but these things happen in football and in life, its the way we react to the disappointment that counts. I fully back Arteta and his vision, because of the team he inherited and the circumstances at that time, we all know it would be a bumpy road full of ups and down. Its now down to us as fans to back the team, the players and the manager and be that 12th man that they need.


Last season under the a Manager for whom no one – at least now – appears to have a good word, we went to the final. So we can’t pin this one on Emery. But neither is it entirely Arteta’s fault. This Club invariably view matches in European Competition, as an exercise in egg shell treading. And have done for years. Frankly we have little European pedigree at all. Certainly compared with a Club like Liverpool – or Man Utd for that matter. Getting back to the higher reaches of the Prem’ is one part of a long battle. The… Read more »


Top Comment. I completely agree


I upthumbed you…


The fall down and the climb up are all the same journey. This becomes even more clear when you realize there is no top and there is no bottom.


Rewards!? Don’t think some points and a EL qualification is any kind of reward at this stage.
Sorry, surely it has been discussed here already but if City (really)will lose their spot in European Football does this mean the 5th place moves to CL spots?


Yes, it does, if City remain among the top4 which is more or less sure. Don’t see how we reach 5th place though.


Aight thx. Mancs, chelski and spuds r shite too. Not saying we do this.

Ya Gooner

If chelsea and spurs stay in cl it gives us a slight advantage over them in terms of getting top 4/5. Only silver lining I can think of so far.


Did you see the home game of Chelsea vs Bayern? And the result? Their chance to go through is even lower than the one of Olympiakos going through after losing 0-1 at home to us.
Oh wait … maybe there is still a chance then.

In all honesty, Chelsea are basically eliminated already. A hope might be the psychological blow that the elimination deals to them, but it’s not like we haven’t been dealt our own heavy blow a few hours ago.


Don’t write off Chelsea. Lewandowski is injured so who knows how that will play out


Everyone. Everyone knows.


Yeah not sure what I was thinking back then…probably just doing that thing to insulate myself from the possibility of Chelsea beating Bayern.


Hopefully this will be a good learning moment for the team. And hopefully this will be a good reminder to the kroenkes that this squad is not good enough on its own. Arteta can only do so much. That said, and the players were beyond abysmal, but Arteta showed serious lack of judgment in my opinion in both lineup and substitutions. Again, hopefully a good learning moment, even if it’s painful.


I hope it is a learning effect to those players who want to leave, because everything else than playing in the CL is beneath them. Learning something about themselves mostly. Wake up! You were just eliminated by Olympiakos in the EL round of last 32.
No disrespect to the Greeks though.They did what they could and it was enough.over these 2 days.
Laca leaves if we don’t play in the CL? So he could play in the CL himself maybe? For whom? 3rd striker for Bate Borisov or Club Bruges probably, or some other club from the 4th pot.


Laca never said he was leaving if we don’t get CL that was clearly made up by some scumbag journalist looking for clicks.


Nothing wrong with the line up!


I disagree. Martinelli should have started over Laca. Think Bellerin could use a rest. I would’ve liked Torreira in the starting 11. I know xhaka covers LB so saka can go forward, but with Martinelli helping on the flank I think we could’ve compensated. In a game that needed energy, and having seen his (lack of) form and energy for the best part of 3 months, I don’t see how Arteta can think Laca should be starting this many games. Also, Auba is still scoring when on the wings, but think about how many more if he was playing up… Read more »


I have to agree with your post, Arteta made mistakes and the players let him down. It was a winnable game and we got it all kind of wrong. Arteta is intelligent and will be wiser and better prepared going forward.

Jonathan Murrin

How did he show serious lack of judgment in Lineup? Picked our best team really, whether you believe in Laca or not.


If you’re not good enough to best Olympiacos over 210 mins of football, regardless of circumstances (penalties, red cards), you shouldn’t even be dreaming about the Champions League. Going into the game that XI looked like our strongest possible on paper, but quite a few people noted that we had only made one change to the side that looked so tired and started so slowly against Everton. We got more of the same again and we didn’t really start playing football till the dying embers of the second half. And when we did it was mostly to create a cluster… Read more »


The idea that the majority of those that played last night could get us to the Champions League is laughable because they were the same bunch including Auba who let us down so badly in the final in Baku.

The whole club needs a reset both off and on the pitch. I didn’t expect Josh to be there last night and was pleasantly surprised that he was, but I wonder what he made of it all?


I don’t think anyone expects us to make the CL this season, but there’s obviously a renewed hope under Arteta that we have a slim chance.

People are obviously disappointed that arguably the most feasible route back to the CL has been closed off in February by a team like Olympiacos.

Jonathan Murrin

We’re not The Invincibles. If you think we are a supremely better side based on performance than thats flawed thinking. They’re leading their league and only lost to Bayern or something at home. We snatched a great result on their ground and they snatched a great result on our ground. Considering where we are in our rebuild, I can’t understand how people thought we were guaranteed to progress this tie?? Peoples expectations of this team need to match reality.


Uhm, what? These are the points I made:

  1. A CL calibre team would beat Olympiacos over 210 mins of football
  2. Our performances since the winter break have grown increasingly tired and sloppy
  3. Our performances over 210 mins against Olympiacos prove most of these players simply aren’t CL quality

Your reply doesn’t have anything to do with any one of those points


why is everyone so preoccupied with the players, isn’t it obvious that the tactics, substitutions and everytthing that comes out of the coach was simply plain wrong? underestimating the opponent, playing from the start as if we were already through. most of the first half was through the center on laca who was locked in a parked Olympiacos bus ozil on the right overcrowding the right wing with pepe and bellerin, total lack of undertsanding between the three of them ozil too slow on receiving final pass in the box he is not to stand there and flick a pass,… Read more »


Have you considered that the answer may be is not tactics or substitutions but rather the fact that aside from one or two players this Arsenal side is a pile of shit?
Would any team win trophies with players like Luiz, Mustafi, Xhaka, Ozil or Lacazette?
Of course not…


there are some obvious squad limitations but not that low as best 32 in EL…..

Tristan Horne

Chelsea won the Premier League with David Luiz and Germany won the World Cup with Ozil. So, yeah.


exactly, highly decorated, grossly overpaid, superpretentious oldfarts living off their ancient victories (for other teams) should go.


Excellent post. The problems at Arsenal run much deeper than Arteta but last night he got almost everything wrong. It was as frustrating as hell watching Pepe out on the right wing when he has no right foot: why not simply switch him and Auba around? And Laca should have been subbed at half-time: he looks like someone with absolutely no confidence. Waiting until extra time to bring on the in-form Martinelli was criminal. And we are still a mess defensively. We are out because we conceded two rubbish goals from set pieces. David Luis is not a centre-half and… Read more »


I agree. Why complain about Mustafi? he had a very good game for us. Arteta granted had to sub off the German bc of injury. BUT he did not add enough on our right when he took off the ineffective Bellerin. If he was going to a 3 at the back, he could have pushed on Martinelli on the right much earlier or up front for Lacazette. Or AMN maybe as a wing back to give us better width bc Pepe was rubbish losing most of his take ons or going no where with them. Ozil also needed to come… Read more »


Arsenal haven’t so much turned a corner but more lifted themselves from rock bottom. They were poor last night – our only chance of achieving much
undeserved champions league football has gone.
Season over for me…

Tristan Horne

We’re 4 points behind 5th, which if Man City’s ban is upheld will mean CL football. Wow, some of the people on here…. if it’s that bad no-one’s forcing you to support Arsenal. Maybe you’re better off supporting another team?


We are 4 points behind fifth but the inconsistency is still there. As much as you want to think we will win and the teams ahead of us will falter, truth is we are still where we are barely above tenth for good reason as well. The new gaffer has pretty much the same players at Unai’s disposal and we are still drawing similar results (no pun) The hope is we can string 3 or 4 wins next in league then we can talk about 5th. And FFS if anything this season, the one big game we have (and the… Read more »

Jean Ralphio

11 cup finals ahead.


We’ve been here before sadly.

Players spewing sweet nothings about having to learn from mistakes.

Gaffers not being able to find the right balance between attacking intent and defensive common sense.


He should lift them with a size 10 up their arses. Ozil apologists missing like their hero. Is there anything more pathetic on a football pitch than an Ozil press? Maybe Xhaka not being able to weight a pass properly or our set piece defending. I hope the reason for playing these so called senior players is to keep them in the shop window.


Xhaka not the only one. Torreira lost the ball countless times.

Pepe over complicated his work most of which had zero out put for us.

Bellerin was a non event (largely due to injury recovery)

Even Auba is not without blame.

Overall focus of this team remains poor.

Not surprisingly. since pretty much same players under Unai.

BUT it cuts both ways, Arteta has the same players at Unai’s disposal and he isn’t doing any much better either.

Cape Town Arsenal

Does anyone here know what would happen should Manure win the EL and come 5th in the league…or Wolves for that matter?


Realistically, we should aim for fifth. Hopefully the cards fall in our favour. I have my doubts we can show the consistency to grab 4th or higher even if some prefer to think the teams ahead of us are inconsistent…so are we.

Guns Up

Not sure I agree with what seems to be the majority opinion, that Europa League was the easier route to next year’s CL. If we were already at the quarterfinal stage when facing Olympiacos, maybe. But with the incredible inconsistency of the teams in front of us in the league, it doesn’t take much to move up the table. Look how much closer we are after a “run” of just two successive wins. Leicester are firmly entrenched in the top 3 based on a strong run to start the season, despite over a month of poor form that continues still.… Read more »


making excuses.

We should have been able to put Olympiakos to the sword at home. We were complacent.

Same issues in Europa will also plague us in the league.

Which is a much more difficult climb.


Once upon a time we had a certain Arsene Wenger. Some people complained he was only good for a Top 4 trophy bc they believed the media pundits and convinced themselves being outside top 4 but winning trophies was better. And here we are no trophies no top 4. Schadenfreude. Never mind, there is still some sort of messianical believe based on ‘faith’ nothing -else that Arteta is the one to lead them to the promise land. It took Moses 40 years wandering around just saying. More likely, we will skimp on spend bc we have less revenue from lack… Read more »


If you really think Arteta has the clout to drop Ozil, think again. Unai second guess himself and re-included Ozil (to no avail) when he was struggling to find better traction for our attacks (Drawing too many) Arteta should have subbed off Ozil against Olympiakos, pushed Ceballos forward and added in Guendouzi for aggression instead of Torreira. We should also have had the guts to get Emre Can in Jan so we could hold midfield with one player and push Ceballos and Guendouzi higher to attack when need be. Instead we bought yet another half penny Cback to add to… Read more »


Oh look, the noisy vulture is back. yippee.

Mr. Gordon. Phillips

Just stop them pissing about at the back. A back pass led to Leno messing up and a corner which led to a goal. Kick the bloody thing into row z with 2 mins to go.

Tony Hall

Two steps forward and one step back. A shame we lost the match because weshould have won it comfortably but cest la vie. Not all is lost though, with no-one expecting the team to do anything this season it would be just so Arsenal to go on a run and sneak up to fifth or even fourth which is only 7 points! And please for the love of god beat Liverpool just to shut the media up although I hope they have lost at least once before then, the 49 unbeaten run is precious and I do not want it… Read more »