Arteta calls on Arsenal to prove their worth after double blow

AFP , Friday 19 Apr 2024

Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal to prove they have the mental strength to bounce back from a painful spell that wrecked their Champions League challenge and dented their Premier League title bid.

Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the Champions League quarter-final second leg football match between Bayern Munich and Arsenal at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Photo: AP


Arteta's side lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich on Wednesday as the German side earned a 3-2 aggregate quarter-final victory.

The end of Arsenal's attempt to win the Champions League for the first time followed a damaging 2-0 home defeat against Aston Villa in the Premier League.

Critics said the Gunners' stumble over the last week reflected a lack of character and toughness in Arteta's squad.

But Arsenal can return to the top of the table by winning at Wolves on Saturday while leaders Manchester City are in FA Cup semi-final action against Chelsea.

"It's been an experience, not the best one," Arteta told reporters on Friday. "We're fully focused on the times we have ahead of us with six games to go.

"The context is clear, if we win we go top of the league, you don't need anything else to be motivated."

Arsenal are without a win in their last three games, having drawn their quarter-final first leg against Bayern.

Arteta claimed the first game against Bayern and the Villa clash could have produced different results if Arsenal had avoided key mistakes.

"It is what it is and we have to accept it. The Bayern one at home at the beginning, it could have been different," Arteta said.

"Against Villa we were the better team, but in the second half we paid the price for the chances we gave them and we have to move on from there.

"Now it is about showing against Wolves what we are made of and turning the situation around."

Chasing Arsenal's first Premier League crown in 20 years after blowing an eight-point lead in the title race last season, Arteta knows the verdict will not be kind if his team finish empty-handed again.

But the Spaniard refused to blame his players for their wobble as he told them to make a final push for the title.

"I'm fully behind them. Thank you so much for the journey together, thank you for being in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and being so close," he said.

"Thank you for competing against the best team in Premier League history (Manchester City) and the best team in the competition in the last eight years with Liverpool and we're in with a chance to win it.

"Thank you so much for everything they have done, because it is unbelievable."

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