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Quartet say Arsenal were good but not good enough

Published: Wednesday 12 March 2014, 7.58CET
Łukasz Fabiański, Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen were united in thinking that with a bit of luck and composure, Arsenal FC could have beaten FC Bayern München.
by Andy James
from Fußball Arena München
Quartet say Arsenal were good but not good enough
Lukas Podolski looks on during the second leg against Bayern ©Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Wednesday 12 March 2014, 7.58CET

Quartet say Arsenal were good but not good enough

Łukasz Fabiański, Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen were united in thinking that with a bit of luck and composure, Arsenal FC could have beaten FC Bayern München.

Łukasz Fabiański's late penalty save did little to salve his disappointment after Arsenal FC were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 by FC Bayern München for the second season running. The goalkeeper echoed midfielder Mikel Arteta's sentiments that the Gunners were lacking a final pass in the 1-1 second-leg draw – but also, as Thomas Vermaelen agreed, a touch of fortune.

Łukasz Fabiański, Arsenal goalkeeper
Obviously we're disappointed because I think we did well tonight. Bayern are a really good team and the winners of last season's competition. We could have done more over the two games on the whole but unfortunately they scored more goals than us, so it's them who go through.

The way we played in the second half was much better. We might not have created any clear-cut chances but there were a few times where, if the final ball had been a bit better, we had the opportunity to score a second and put them under a bit more pressure. After we scored we looked much more dangerous. We just needed a bit of luck.

Obviously we wanted to win and go through. Our plan was to attack and try to put them under pressure. We knew from the first game that if you put them under pressure then sometimes they struggle. It didn't work out in the first half but I think you could see in the second that we had a few chances.

What have we learned from the two games against Bayern? To never play them again [laughs]. No, we learned that we can compete against the best because at the moment they are still the best team in Europe. They won the competition last year and it's a positive that we can compete.

Per Mertesacker, Arsenal defender
I think we played well in the two away ties against Bayern over the last two seasons but it's obvious that over the four games it wasn't enough to go through.

We have to look at what went wrong. We tried everything, especially in the last ten minutes. We tried to track them all over the pitch. We got the ball in some good positions but didn't manage to score. We had to score twice, so we were two goals away from the quarter-finals and that's a lot. Overall they deserved to win, especially after the first game.

We want to finish the season strongly now and achieve something. We have to get the Champions League out of our system and take the positives into our next game.

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal midfielder
We knew that nothing is impossible. I think we saw that much in London. We had to try and you never know in football. When they scored we kept on believing. We equalised through Lukas [Podolski] and there were some situations where we could have made better decisions or made the final pass. Then it would have been game on. But we're talking about the best team in Europe here.

Every team that has been here recently has been battered five or six-nil, so I think it's encouraging. I think we were very good in the second half. We can take a lot of courage from that. We kept them pretty quiet as well.

Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal defender
We came here and fought hard, which is the only thing you can do really. One-all is not a bad result here. We wanted to score but unfortunately they did. We scored quite quickly after that and you could see that they lost quite a lot of the ball at the back when we pushed high up the pitch. We believed until the end because we did it last year, but this year it wasn't good enough.

You need a lot of luck in this competition. I thought we played well in the first leg. We put them under pressure for the first 15 minutes but we missed a penalty and got the red card as well. We know it's not easy in the Champions League. I feel we can compete, but obviously this is the top level.

It's difficult to say exactly what the problem is. We've not had the best of luck in the draws after the first round and, as I said, you need a bit of luck in this tournament. We're still in the title race and the semi-finals of the FA Cup, though, so there's still a lot to play for.

Last updated: 12/03/14 20.06CET

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