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Arteta: Players switching off is unacceptable

by Koolkola

Mikel Arteta reserved praises for his players in our 3-3 draw with West Ham United but he also complained about how we got ourselves in that situation in the first place as the players switched off.

West Ham scored three goals within 32 minutes of the first half through Jesse Lingard, Jarod Bowen and Tomas Soucek. Tomas Soucek went on to score an own goal from a Lacazette shot to reduce the deficit before half time.

We looked better after the break, thanks to Martin Odegaard taking the game to West Ham and Calum Chambers pulling the strings from the right. One of Chambers’ dangerous crosses led to Craig Dawson to reducing the deficit through another own goal. Lacazette completed the comeback with a header after being teed up by substitute Nicolas Pepe.

Here is what the boss said after the game…

His assessment of the match…

I’m really disappointed because I cannot accept my team to play the way we did for certain periods of the first half…the goals we conceded. What I expect, is the team to play at the level we showed afterwards. We played incredibly well, we should have scored six or seven goals. But we are all the time in reverse because we have two faces. The first face is about giving goals to the opponent and not doing what we have to do. It’s not good enough.

On his players not respecting the game plan…

I don’t know. The first goal, it can happen. It’s a really good combination, they play that channel well, it’s two actions, they have players in the box and he [Lingard] scores a brilliant goal. It’s fine. That is fine. The way we concede the second one is unacceptable. The third one is unacceptable. And we still [nearly] give them one more when we gave them a throw in and they hit the post. It’s too much margins. Then you have to score six every game. For the rest, the attitude and the desire we showed and the togetherness we showed [is good] because at 3-0 it’s really difficult to do what we’ve done. I had no doubts because we talked about it and I see every day the energy and the cohesion that the players have. We got it really close to winning at the end, I think we deserved to win it at the end but the first half really worries me.

On how he explains his players switching off…

It’s unacceptable because we talk about that all the time. But it happens. I don’t know if it’s a hangover from Europe. Tired. You lose your focus. The game is taking over because you are losing. I don’t know what it is. It wasn’t just one or two players, it was more that switched off in this case. I have to correct that dramatically and quick.

On starting Aubameyang on the right…

With the way we wanted to play. It made sense for him to play there. But obviously, we didn’t have the ball, we didn’t win any duels, everything was long balls and second balls and it wasn’t our game. Then he couldn’t have any influence on the game. When we started to play a little bit, I decided to switch them because as well we were having some issues on that side defensively. We were more stable, not because of this, but because we started to do what we had to do.

On Calum Chambers…

He was really good. He’s been training really well. It’s a player that gives us something else. He gives us height which was the plan with the team we have at the moment. He was superb and really efficient in the final third. I think he had a great performance.

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