Arsenal center back Per Mertesacker has admitted that his side were too casual and were rightfully punished by Monaco in the 1st leg of the last 16 tie in the UEFA Champions League.
The Gunners’ defense was made to look ordinary by Monaco’s attack who came in with a perfect gameplan of counter-attacking the Londoners after soaking up the pressure. Arsenal started the game well, but soon their urgency disappeared and it was Monaco who looked like the side that wanted to score.
With three away goals, the Ligue 1 outfit have a good chance of qualifying for the next round unless Arsenal go to Stade Louis and score thrice; a difficult task considering the fact that Monaco haven’t conceded a single goal at home in the Champions League.
Captain Mertesacker said that his side were too adventurous after conceding and were made to pay by Monaco, “At 2-1 we made the same mistake we did in the second half when we looked a bit over-motivated to come back as quickly as possible. That was a big regret. Start the second half on the front foot obviously but, at times, too much. That was a bit naive at times. Especially when you come back, there was a bit of a hope with the goal we scored but then we try to get the second. That was a feeling of the whole second half.
“We try to get the best possible result. When you are 2-1 down and think you have just scored, you think now we can again put them under pressure and maybe score another one. That is what you think. You think you are really up for the second one. It’s sometimes difficult.
“Monaco are a defensive side and tried to hit us on the break, that’s what we expected. We couldn’t avoid it. When you lose the ball like that, anything can happen.
“We were at times a bit naive but the plan is to get the best possible result.”
The team was treated with boos at the end of the game as the game was supposed to be a relatively easier one for Arsenal compared to the last 16 ties in the previous years. Arsenal however bottled it and Mertesacker said that the team owes them a better performance, “I understand fans’ anger and we owe them a better performance – a lot of things went against us. We found our own team-mate instead of the net a couple of times. A lot of things went wrong but we still kept going.
“Sometimes the crowd want to see better results, especially at home, because they know it will be tough at Monaco. But with our travelling fans we try to create a special atmosphere that we are capable of doing special things even away from home, that’s for sure. Let’s try to raise everyone’s level at Monaco,” the German added.