Why Martin Odegaard is looking at Arsenal's defeat to Sporting CP positively
Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard voiced his frustrations towards the Gunners' exit from the Europa League, but was keen to focus on turning the loss into a positive ahead of the Premier League title run-in.
After two draws with Sporting CP, Arsenal eventually crashed out on penalties at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, leaving the Premier League as their only source of potential silverware this season.
It was a disappointing performance from Arsenal and Odegaard confessed the Gunners did not show their best.
“I think we did enough in some periods of the game but most of the game we weren’t at the level we should be,” Odegaard told BT Sport. “In part of the game we did well but throughout the whole game, we didn’t play our best football.
“They’re a good team, we knew that. We knew their qualities and we were prepared. I think it was more about us today, we didn’t play the way we normally do and we didn’t put in the energy we normally do and that’s disappointing.
But the Norwegian was firm in his belief that Arsenal can lean on the positives from this season, and insisted that the loss can be refocused into positive energy.
“We have to remember it’s been a great season, we’ve done amazing things this year. Of course, it’s a big blow to go out of this competition — it was a big goal for us — but we have to look forward, look to Sunday [against Crystal Palace] and come back stronger and make sure we finish well in the league. That’s the only thing we can do.”
Manager Mikel Arteta also admitted his disappointment towards missing out on a European trophy, saying: “It’s a huge blow, obviously. There were moments, especially in the first 75 minutes, when we weren’t at our level.
“We gave every single ball away and we didn’t have the capacity to dominate the game and take the game where we wanted.
“It’s true that in the last 15 minutes, we had the chances, and in extra time the chances, to win it. In the penalties, there’s a lot of uncertainty and we lost it.
“It was a very different game [to the first leg]. Especially the winning of duels, when we had them in certain spaces.
“We didn’t put the ball under pressure well enough and every time we regained the ball in dangerous areas we gave it away. We gave away the ball consistently and that created a really open transition game that we didn’t want to play.”
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