Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta appears to blame his own players for ‘sloppy’ Brighton loss

Arsenal V Brighton: Pictures

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has slammed his own players for their attitude and approach to the match against Brighton on Saturday. The Gunners suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium which has damaged their hopes of finishing above rivals Tottenham in fourth place in the Premier League.

Brighton had gone seven matches without a win, but left north London with three points thanks to well-taken goals from Leandro Trossard and Enock Mwepu. Gabriel Martinelli had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside when the score was at 1-0 and Martin Odegaard scored a late consolation, but it was a terrible afternoon for Arsenal, who failed to take advantage of Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat by Everton.

Tottenham’s emphatic 4-0 win over Aston Villa in Saturday’s late kick-off was a further blow for Arteta, who did not hold back in his damning assessment of his players’ efforts. “The first half, it was really poor again. The reaction we wanted to show and everything that we talked about, we didn’t make it on the pitch,” he said in his post-match press conference.

“We were sloppy on the ball again, we were second best in several situations, we didn’t gain any momentum, we didn’t show any purpose in the game, we didn’t play with the right speed and transform the game that Brighton proposed today.

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“The first chance they had – the only chance they had I think – they scored. We created a cold atmosphere that we weren’t comfortable with, but when we tried to change it, it was too late. It was great not to give up, but it was too late.”

Arsenal are stuck in fifth place, three points behind Spurs, albeit with a game in hand. The Gunners have now lost three of their last four Premier League matches and Arteta was furious with what he saw against Brighton, who claimed what was just a fourth win from their last 26 league games.

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“It’s not a problem of attitude. For me it was a problem of the approach and the courage that we showed to play,” Arteta said. “We didn’t have the purpose. I know them and we didn’t have that intention to attack and step in and provoke the situation that we want to provoke and we were looking at each other too many times instead of taking ownership and doing what we have to do. You cannot play like that. You have to make yourself count and step in and we didn’t do that today.”

He added: “We lacked to take the ownership to take decisions ourselves that could affect the game instead of allowing the game to go and go and create a trajectory that we didn’t want. When that happens you have to move and we didn’t do it and by the time we started to do it was too late and you could see already that the energy was very different.

“What happens is we criticise ourselves a lot again. Get slapped again because we deserve it a lot and we were really poor in the first half and then lift ourselves up. We know this road is taking ourselves nowhere, especially with where we want to be. We have everything to play for in the last eight games and we have to have that energy and visualise the beautiful challenge that we have ahead and not sit back and see what happens.”

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