Sports

April 18, 2024

Arteta urges Arsenal to use Bayern ‘pain’ to fuel Premier League title bid

Arteta urges Arsenal to use Bayern ‘pain’ to fuel Premier League title bid

Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal to use the “pain” of the Champions League quarter-final exit against Bayern Munich to fuel their Premier League title bid.

Arteta’s side failed to clinch a first semi-final appearance since 2009 as Joshua Kimmich’s second half header gave Bayern a 1-0 second leg win and a 3-2 aggregate success.

It was a bitter evening in Munich for Arteta and his players, who had dreamed of leading Arsenal to their maiden Champions League crown.

After a blistering run carried them to the top of the Premier League and into the Champions League last eight, Arsenal have endured a nightmare week.

They were below their best in the 2-2 first leg draw with Bayern, then surrendered pole position in the Premier League after conceding two late goals in a 2-0 home defeat against Aston Villa on Sunday.

After producing another underwhelming display in Germany, Arteta has to find a way to lift his team’s shattered morale in time for a last push for the English title.

“We were very close, that is the reality. It’s painful, but we have to learn from this. We had our moments, especially in the first half,” Arteta said.

“The players gave their best, we didn’t have that magical moment that we need in the competition.

“In the first leg, we conceded two avoidable goals, which had a significant impact on the draw.

“We were still alive when we arrived here. The margins are so fine. A mistake or a moment makes the difference.”

After a lengthy absence from the Champions League, Arsenal largely acquitted themselves well.

– ‘Still beautiful’ –

They won their group ahead of PSV Eindhoven, Lens and Sevilla before beating Porto on the penalties in the last 16.

But Arteta conceded a lack of experience in the latter stages of the competition proved a key factor against Bayern, six-time European champions who are perennial contenders for the trophy.

“We haven’t been in this position for 14 years, we haven’t played in the Champions League for seven years. There’s a reason for that. Today’s match will make us better,” he said.

“I think we have the capacity and the quality to be in the semi-final. When you look historically, it took other clubs seven, eight or 10 years to do it in the Champions League.

“It’s easy to praise the players and talk nice things when we win 10 in a row and one draw (in the Premier League).

“The moment is now to be behind them and be next to them.”

Arsenal have little time to lick their wounds, with the title race approaching a gripping conclusion.

Arteta’s side are in second place, two points behind leaders Man City.

Third placed Liverpool trail Arsenal on goal difference, with all three clubs having six games left.

With City playing Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend, the Gunners have a chance to return to first place if they win at Wolves on Saturday.

Arteta has told his tired troops to embrace the opportunity to chase Arsenal’s first Premier League crown for 20 years.

“What we have to play for (in the Premier League) is still beautiful. We have six games to go and we are two points behind City,” he said.

“It’s a very difficult schedule for everybody. We have to go through the pain tonight, and tomorrow get up and come with the same attitude that we came with here.

“I can guarantee you by tomorrow we’re fully focused on Wolves and everybody is lifted.”