Mikel Arteta is fed up with ‘bad’ goals as Arsenal are held by Sporting Lisbon

Mikel Arteta lamented his Arsenal side conceding two “bad” goals in their Europa League draw at Sporting Lisbon.

The Gunners came from behind to draw 2-2 after Mikel Arteta made six changes to the team that took a final victory over Bournemouth on Saturday to hold five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

A William Saliba header gave Arsenal the lead, but goals either side from Goncalo Inacio and Paulinho put Sporting in control.

Hidemasa Morita’s own goal saw the visitors secure a draw to return to the Emirates Stadium next week for the second leg, where they hope to progress to the quarter-finals.

Inacio’s equalizer marked Arsenal’s fourth corner kick since the World Cup and they have now scored five goals in 10 games and are nine seconds behind from kick-off against the Cherries.

“When you conced two bad goals, as we have done away from home in Europe, it is very difficult to get a positive result,” said Arteta.

“The game had different phases because we gave away too many simple balls in our own half and gave them the capacity to (use) transition moments that they are good at.

“At other times we were in full control of the game and lost a bit of threat today, especially with the four players we are missing in our front line.

“Some positives because we showed a lot of resilience to get back into the game, but we need to defend our box much better and be better on Sunday.”

Arteta revealed that the way Arsenal have conceded has been discussed, especially on their way to a knockout draw.

“We talked about the importance of boxes, especially in a match when you’re in or out,” he added.

“Today we didn’t defend well enough and we also need to be better at threatening the opponent. But of course you have an opponent there.

“We’ve had some really emotional games lately. We’ve made a lot of changes today and sometimes it takes time to get that consistency. You felt in the first 15 minutes that it needed some time to adjust and click. But if we don’t expose them, it will never happen.”

Sports boss Ruben Amorim spoke of Arsenal’s quality ahead of the game, but felt his side could have put themselves in a better position to progress to the quarter-finals after a strong showing.

“If you asked a Sporting fan before the game if a draw would be a good result, they would say ‘yes’,” he said.

“Now considering the 90 minutes, some of them will be disappointed. Our players were very smart, in winning back the ball we had quality and we created chances.

“I would say we could have won the game today. We could have made it 3-1 and shortly afterwards we conceded a second goal.”

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