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Arteta hoping Europa League blow won't set his Arsenal team back

Mike Arteta said it is his job to lift the team after Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Olympiacos on Thursday.

Youssef El Arabi scored in the final minute of extra time to ensure they qualified for the round of 16 via away goals, with the tie at 2-2.

The defeat is a real blow to Arteta in his first season as Arsenal boss, with the Gunners only having the Premier League and FA Cup left to play for.

"I have to lift them, it's my job," he said during his post match press conference.

That's the first thing I have to do. First of all we have to digest it because it's very, very painful tonight."

Arsenal beat Olympiacos 1-0 in the away leg in Athens and dominated possession on Thursday, but they failed to convert the territorial domination into clear cut opportunities.

After a tense first half, Olympiacos went ahead through Pape Abou Cisse and held on to that lead in order to force extra time.

In the second period of extra time Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked to have earned Arsenal the win with a spectacular overhead volley, but El Arabi had the final say with minutes remaining.

"I just want to concentrate now on lifting those players and getting back the belief, and convince them that there is still a lot to play for, and move on," Arteta added.

“It's part of this sport that a big disappointment can happen and it happened tonight. We have to learn and react as a team and as a club."

The new Arsenal coach had lost just one match since his arrival at the club in December before last night and he hoped the defeat will not have reversed some of the progress his team have made.

"I hope not because I will try and show them what happened in the game and where the game should have finished and the things that we didn't do to finish the game the way that it should have finished," he said.

“Hopefully it's part of the process to learn from that and improve as a team."


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William Dodds

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