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Porto 1-0 Arsenal: Arteta says Gunners ‘lacked purpose’ in Uefa Champions League round of 16 first leg defeat


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says his players “lacked purpose” during a tame defeat at Porto which has put them in peril of continuing the club’s notoriously poor record in the first knockout round of the Uefa Champions League.

The Premier League contenders had averaged almost four goals a game in their previous six matches in all competitions but failed to have a shot on target in Portugal, losing to a stunning winner by Galeno in the 94th minute on a forgettable night for the Spanish coach who is managing in the Champions League for the first time.

“We really dominated the game but we lacked purpose, especially in the first half to have much more aggression, to break lines, to play forward, to generate much more threat in their backline,” said Arteta.

“In the second half, there were much better things. We generated a lot of situations without really creating much, but we’ll learn from it.”

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Arsenal were knocked out in the round of 16 for a seventh successive season when they last played in the Champions League in 2017.

Porto, who had eight of the 15 attempts at goal but only 35% of possession, visit Emirates Stadium for the return match on March 12.

“We’re very disappointed by the way we gave the game away at the end, not managing that situation well enough,” rued Arteta.

“You get punished in the Champions League – if you cannot win it, you don’t lose it. Now it’s clear, it’s half-time.

“If you want to be in the quarter-finals, you have to beat your opponent. That will be the purpose and the plan, with all our supporters together to do it.”

Arsenal vs Porto: Inexperience ‘had impact’

Arsenal host Newcastle United, visit Sheffield United and are at home to Brentford in the Premier League before the second leg.

“A lot of other things that [the players have] done for the first time here were very good,” added Arteta.

“It’s a bit cruel to judge it, but it’s true that [inexperience] had a big impact on the result.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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