Mikel Arteta says Arsenal did not “die out” by conceding a late equalizer against Slavia Prague, but made a “bad decision” by giving the corner ahead.
Arsenal had missed a string of chances in the second half but after a few late changes they finally made the breakthrough when substitutes Nicolas Pepe returned home.
However, the Gunners were unable to secure a valuable Europa League first leg victory as Slavia Prague scored a very important away goal when Tomas Holes nodded at home with just one minute. to play.
This left Arteta frustrated on the sideline, after seeking a reaction from his side following a limp 3-0 loss to Liverpool on Sunday.
But he insists that his side hasn’t lost focus, but made a bad choice, and doesn’t care about the mentality on his side.
He said: “I don’t think they died out, I think we made a bad decision, playing the ball in an area where we got trapped and from there we conceded the corner Other than that, I don’t think so, it is.
“What was missing is that when you create big chances in Europe, you have to seize them. I think we deserved much more than the result we got.
“When we did the hardest thing, which was to score the first goal and wait for the last four or five minutes and handle the game a lot better than we did, we didn’t manage to do it and then we gave them the opportunity in the corner and they scored the goal to tie the game and [put us] in a different position. Looking at what happened on the pitch, this is not what we would expect.
“My team’s mentality? No, I don’t have any concerns.”
The first half was lackluster for both sides at the Emirates after six changes from the weekend’s loss to Liverpool, but Arsenal have come to life after a series of late substitutions.
One of those who bolstered the squad was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who fell on the bench for the Europa League draw, although questions were raised whether the changes should have been made earlier.
Arteta said of his captain: “We try to be as transparent and communicate with the players as clearly as possible so that they understand the role of the game they have and when he came in he showed the good attitude and the right commitment.
“We know we had the opportunity to change things with the five submarines, we think it was the right time with the configuration they had, it was the right time to do it and they had a impact.
“We know that in this competition the submarines have a lot to say and they have made an impact that we need. Unfortunately we didn’t capitalize at the end, but we saw what we wanted.
“I think the players [who started] stepped in and they did absolutely everything. They [Slavia Prague] are a really tough opponent to face with the number of duels and one-on-one man-to-man situations they create.
“We handled it really well at times, we were a lot more aggressive today, more ambitious to play the game we wanted to play and we created some great chances, but we didn’t rule them out.”
Arsenal travel to Prague next Thursday, requiring a huge performance in the second leg, but Arteta is confident his side can advance to the semi-finals.
He added: “If I didn’t believe we could go there next week and win the game, I wouldn’t be sitting here. The mentality is that they have to go there, score goals and win the game. We have to. mark if we want to end it.
“We’ve done it in the past and I’m sure we can do it again.”