Just a day after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger declared that Arsenal should be playing in the Europa League, defender Per Mertesacker has also conceded that his team dona t have the a mental level to compete at the highest levela .
The German, who won the World Cup with Germany last year, feels that Arsenal are actually a far awaya from winning the competition. Mertesacker was speaking after Arsenal were eliminated at the round of 16 stage on Tuesday night.
Trailing 1-3 from the opening leg, which was contested at the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners came back into the tie by scoring two goals away from home by the 79th minute of the second leg, but were ultimately unable to overturn that deficit. It was the second time in three years that they went out on away goals.
This time, however, the lanky centre half admitted that it was their own mistake. Mertesacker said that the the team had underestimated their Ligue 1 opponents in the home leg.
“Far,” he told reporters when asked how close his side is to winning the Champions League. “When you get knocked out you are far away.
“It is the last 16 and Monaco were very underestimated but they deserved it by playing well in the first leg. We had one bad game and that was enough to get knocked out.
“In the first game, we lacked that mental level you need to compete at the highest level. That was missing. You could see in the second leg how good we are and how well organised we can be.
“We conceded that late goal in the first leg a that was the killer. We are frustrated with not going through and giving away that big chance to go to the quarter-final.”
Still in the FA Cup after defeating Manchester United in the quarterfinals, Wengera s side could very well end the season with silverware and may even finish in the top two. Arsenal are just two points off champions Manchester City who are currently going through a major slump in form.
On the other hand, the Gunners have managed winning eight of the last nine games and are the team in form in the Premier League at the moment.
“As you could see over the last few years, we always get the results, especially at the end of the season.
“Thata s what we will try to do again. We have to look and see how far it takes us. There are a lot of teams involved, but we want to qualify directly for the Champions League. That is a big target.
“But Monaco is another win that gives us the confidence you need at the end of the season when you are more fatigued. We have good depth in the squad and that gives us a lift.”