Bernd Leno has revealed the Arsenal dressing room was very quiet after last night’s 1-0 defeat to Olympiacos and has warned his teammates that they can forget about winning the Europa League if they play as badly again.
Having established a two-goal advantage in the away leg in Athens, the Gunners still progressed to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate but it was the performance rather than the result that irked the German and his manager Mikel Arteta.
“I think we suffered today and it was not necessary,” Leno told Arsenal.com.
“In the first 15 or 20 minutes we controlled the game but then we’ve made too many easy mistakes and in the second half we conceded the goal and then everybody was nervous.
“We made it hard for ourselves and, like I said, it was not necessary.
“In the dressing room, it was quiet because everybody knows that it was not a good performance from us. We cannot change it anymore but the positive thing is that it was a warning.
“We need to be 100 per cent every game. If we play like today then we won’t reach anything this season.”
Today’s Europa League draw will plot out a potential route to the final in Gdansk, Poland on 26 May. Manchester United are the bookies’ favourites, while Ajax and Roma represent the most glamorous continental opponents. We also have to be wary of Spanish sides Villarreal, managed by Unai Emery, and Granada, while Slavia Prague and Dinamo Zagreb have dumped out Leicester and Sp*rs respectively.
Looking ahead, Leno said: “I think there are only very good teams in the quarter-finals and we need two perfect games to go to the semi-finals and two more games to go to the final.
“The Europa League is very important for us,” added Leno. “This is probably the closest way to go to the Champions League and also to win a big European trophy so we need to step up.
“We need to have the motivation to win every game, cut out the easy mistakes and go through to the final and hopefully have a big final at the end of the season.”