After watching his Arsenal side get comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Manchester City, Mikel Arteta fielded questions from BT Sport.
Here’s what the Spaniard had to say about a result that potentially kills off his side’s title challenge.
Mikel, that’s a bruising night, it’s got to hurt. What was missing out there tonight?
Well, we were beaten by the better team, that’s for sure. They were exceptional today and when that’s the case, it’s extremely difficult to reach that level and we were not near enough our level, especially in the first half. And when you open that gap against them, you get punished.
They set the standard, but did they change tactics a little bit? Did they catch you with the long ball tonight?
They did that in their previous game [against us]. When you have them in one corner and they kick it 60 yards, they win that duel, they run through you. You have to start first of all competing and winning your duels and all the very basic things today against this team, we didn’t do them in the first half and we were punished and we could have been even more punished. We concede from a set piece, we concede from our own throw, an open goal. Very difficult…
And they scored early, that knocks a bit of belief out of the players after three successive draws as well…
It does, but especially, you know, the way we were in the in first 20 to 30 minutes. They were on top of us, we could not handle that situation. We did not compete well enough in every duel and it has to start at that. The game they proposed it was being extremely, extremely direct and we knew that they had the capacity to do that because they can stretch the pitch 60, 70 yards with this goalkeeper. First of all, you have to be in the right position, then you have to compete for that ball. And once we won it, we lost it straight away.
As you said before, this doesn’t decide the title but does it tip the balance now?
Well, today is a very difficult night. Obviously, after the way we lost. We have to stand up, look at the bigger picture and the fact that we are competing toe to toe with this team. It’s incredible, to be fair. And we want to compete, and we’re not going to give up. And it’s five games to go in this league, anything can happen. I’ve seen a lot of things because I’ve been here more than 20 years, and you have to believe. Tonight it’s difficult to do that. But you have to look in the mirror. As well, we have to accept that we have lost against an exceptional team. And that’s the level.