Mikel Arteta pinpoints key disappointment from Champions League defeat

Mikel Arteta pinpoints key disappointment from Champions League defeat

Mikel Arteta has vowed that Arsenal will at least learn from the manner of defeat in the club’s first Champions League knockout game in seven years, having been beaten by Porto.

The Gunners enjoyed the lion’s share of possession against the Portuguese giants on their own pitch and yet didn’t muster a single shot on target – the first time that has happened in a game since 2022. It was then a slightly naive attempt at a stoppage time counter attack, giving the ball away in a poor area, that directly led to Galeno’s stunning last-gasp winner for Porto.

“Obviously we’re very disappointed by the way we gave the game away at the end, and not managing that situation well enough,” Arteta reflected.

“You get punished in the Champions League – if you cannot win it, you don’t lose it.

“We really dominated the game, but we lacked purpose, especially in the first half to have much more aggression, to break lines, to play forward, to generate much more threat in their backline. In the second half, there were much better things, and we generated a lot of situations without really creating much from it, but we’ll learn from it.

Arsenal dominated but were beaten with a late sucker punch / David Ramos/GettyImages

“It’s clear, it’s half-time. If you want to be in the quarter-finals, you have to beat your opponent.”

Despite being a goal down on aggregate, Arsenal will still fancy their chances in the return leg at the Emirates Stadium on 12 March, requiring a two-goal victory to win the tie without the need for extra-time. Pulling that off would be a first Champions League quarter-final since 2010.

The Gunners have actually lost all of their last seven last 16 ties in the competition, going out at the first knockout round every year from 2011 until 2017. Arteta himself was a player in five of those seasons and joked before facing Porto that it was repeatedly down to the quality of Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich rather than any sort of mental block existing at the club.


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