Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United at MetLife Stadium has given him “lots of information” and warned his squad that next season will be more “challenging” against improved opponents.
First half goals by Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho – both the result of individual mistakes – did the damage in New York on an evening when the Gunners were also condemned to a 5-3 defeat on penalties.
“Having a tough match of this level in this context gives you a lot of information, and that’s always very positive,” Arteta told his post-game press conference.
“That information is obviously there are a lot of things we have to improve. How important the boxes are, that errors are part of football, you have to overcome them as well. And how painful it is to lose a game. Physically it’s been super, super demanding.
“Some players we want to expose a little bit more than they have done, because the way we want to build them, their physical state.
“Overall they had their moments when they were so efficient. We had ours, when we had more dominance and we certainly tried again in the second half, but the chances we had, we didn’t convert them, and they won the game.”
He added: “You [the media] asked me yesterday about my thoughts on how difficult or easy the season is going to be.
“It’s going to be more challenging, more difficult, the level and preparation of the team is excellent and we knew today, they had already played two games before this one and we knew the test was going to be really demanding, like it’s going to be on Wednesday against [Barcelona] one of the best teams in the world.”
Asked what he learnt from the game, he added: “That I hate to lose and we all hate to lose. That is the biggest lesson, that I don’t like losing and I don’t like the feeling that I have right now.
“So the boys have to train right now, in that space thinking how we are going to be better to win the next match.”
Arsenal fly to Los Angeles later today for the third and final leg of their US tour.
A match against Barcelona, the reigning champions of La Liga, at KSE’s SoFi Stadium represents a mouthwatering matchup and also the chance for a new look Gunners midfield to get more minutes in the bank.
Asked to comment on how Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard are gelling, Arteta said:
“When they play 55 times together they will be better. It will flow better, they will understand each other better and will be more dominant and better. But it takes time to glide and we have to respect that.
“But I saw a lot of positive things, and things I like much more than the game we won the other day against the MLS even though the result is very different.”