Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta discusses 'pain' of missing out on Champions League qualification

Jack Gallagher
Arteta is not a happy man
Arteta is not a happy man / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Mikel Arteta has discussed the 'pain' of missing out on Champions League football next season with Arsenal, admitting that the club lost something that they could've won this season.

The Gunners had gone into the final few weeks with qualification for Europe's elite competition in their own hands, however a number of disaster late season results - most notably the north London derby defeat - meant that their arch rivals Tottenham swooped in to secure Champions League football.

Speaking to the club's official website after Arsenal's 5-1 win over Everton the final day of the season, Arteta said that he was not satisfied with qualifying for the Europa League:

"Well we tried to give to the fans, and what we knew the result as well, everything that they deserve, everything that they have done for us, and how much they have helped us to come much further as a club and as a team.

"I cannot assess today the season, I’m sorry. I am still in a lot of pain after what happened on Monday, and I would like to have a fair assessment on what we’ve done. What I can guarantee you is that I have - we have - tried to squeeze the lemon as much as we possibly can, to every single drop, and we reached to the point where we reached.

"I know - I think we all know, and you can see the reaction from the fans towards the team - that you see what we have on the pitch, and what this club has [achieved] ten years ago, 20 years ago - and we know where we have to go. We are not going to stop it.

"I am extremely disappointed today, because we had generated expectations that we wanted, that I wanted for this football club, because it’s what it deserves. At the end we came short and that feeling of guilt and not reaching that level, is painful. 

"I don’t get much [satisfaction] if I’m honest [from Europa League qualification]. I’m still in pain. That’s why I need the dust to settle, I need to go and get a few days on holiday, because I think today that I’m not going to reflect on the season the way that it is.

"But at the same time, I am very grateful for everybody that is supporting our club, the way they are giving us confidence and respect and motivation to drive, forward, because I think they believe in what we are doing, but when you have it there, I am a winner and I hate losing and we lost something that we could win and that’s why I’m in pain. I’m sorry."