Mikel Arteta accepts that Sp*rs have dealt a massive blow to Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for Europe following today’s 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane.
Coming into the game unbeaten in five matches, it felt like the Spaniard’s squad had built up some momentum, however, with results in other games going against us this weekend, we’ve slipped back to ninth in the table; the same position we were in when football was suspended.
With a five point gap between us and Wolves in sixth, it’s going to be a real scrap for a place in next season’s Europa League.
“Points wise it’s a massive blow because we know the results this weekend,” said Arteta in his post-game press conference. “But we will keep trying while we have any hope.
“This is who we are at the moment and we will fight in two different ways – one is the league and the other is the FA Cup – to do our best to finish as strongly as possible.”
Alex Lacazette’s fine strike on 16 minutes gave us reason to hope the north London bragging rights might be ours, but familiar failings at the back reared their ugly head.
Within three minutes, Heung-Min Son capitalised on a poor Sead Kolasinac pass to equalise and while we dominated large periods of the game, we were undone by Toby Alderweireld’s late header from a corner.
Asked if he still feels positive about his side’s development since he took over, Arteta said:
“Yes. If we minimise the mistakes that we do and we keep playing like that, we’re going to win many, many, many football games. Because we’re going to make it really difficult for the opponent. I’m sure of that.
“But these two aspects, one has to be maintained and the other one has to be avoided and it’s on us.
“They believe in what we’re doing. You can see how they are trying and how they are going.
“It’s a shame because if you are able to win that well in such a big ground, on such a big stage as with today, it gives you big belief.
“I am gutted as well for them because they really tried.”
Arsenal have now dropped 15 points from winning positions this season; the most in the league. For the boss, not being able to hold onto a lead can’t be pinned on any single factor – the problems are many and varied – but he remains hopeful for the future.
“There’s been various things since I’ve joined that cost us games.
“I cannot just single out one of them but a few of the ones you have mentioned obviously are involved.
“Some come from errors, some is game management, some come from a set-piece, some from individual errors but look at the margin that we have.
“15 points is a lot and that means that we are fighting and competing in every game, we are very close but the margin to win, lose or draw is sometimes small and at the moment we have to improve on that.”
He added: “Sometimes errors are led by fatigue. We have made some errors and there have been some moments where it wasn’t about that, it was about paying attention at a short corner or not picking up your man from a corner, or just making an individual error or because the opponent does well in this league.
“It pushes you in the last 10 to 15 minutes and you have to suffer and sometimes you concede.
“We will look at that with more depth obviously but it is something where we have some margin to improve.”