Mikel Arteta’s blunt response to Arsenal’s European exit being ‘a blessing in disguise’

Arsenal were eliminated from the Europa League by Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, losing 5-3 on penalties after drawing home and away with Ruben Amorim’s team

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta rates Sporting Lisbon

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta takes little comfort in the fact that his side’s exit from the Europa League allows him to focus on the Premier League.

The Gunners were eliminated by Sporting Lisbon in the round of 16 after a painful penalty shoot-out. Arteta’s side drew 2-2 in Portugal and 1-1 on home soil. Pedro Goncalves equalized with a long-range effort and Gabriel Martinelli was the unlucky player to see a penalty saved.

With no more European distractions, Arsenal can turn their full attention to defending their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League. Her manager doesn’t take it as a positive, however, at least not yet.

After the exit, Arteta was asked if he saw the result as a blessing in disguise. “I can’t see it that way today,” was his reply.

“I don’t know if you go through the competition and win it’s great, if not then it affects your plans in the league, that’s another story,” continued the Spaniard. “We wanted to get through and we put everything into it.

“The effort the lads put in when it wasn’t our best day, individually and collectively, the hunger and the will to win, the way they backtracked was incredible. They really wanted it and today it didn’t happen.”

Will Arsenal’s Europe exit be good in the long term? Share your opinion in the comment section

Mikel Arteta was disappointed after his team’s exit from Europe((Getty Images)

Arsenal have little time to lick their wounds as the leaders are back in action on Sunday. With FA Cup challengers Manchester City, the Gunners can gain an eight-point lead by beating unmanaged Crystal Palace, which sacked boss Patrick Vieira on Friday.

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