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Martin Odegaard admits Arsenal weren’t good enough when knocked out of Europa League



Martin Odegaard lamented Arsenal’s energy level against Sporting Lisbon when his side fell out of the Europa League on penalties on Thursday night.

The Gunners captain, who replaced Mikel Arteta in extra time to save the round of 16, admitted Arsenal lacked energy and played well below the standard they had set so far this season.

Granit Xhaka’s opener in the first half initially gave the north London club a 3-2 aggregate advantage, but was later canceled out by Pedro Goncalves, who caught Aaron Ramsdale with a stunning 46-yarder just after game time.

Despite searching for a winner, Arsenal were thrown out on penalties by the Portuguese side and then lost the shootout 5–3 after Gabriel Martinelli’s crucial penalty was saved by Antonio Adan.

Lamenting his team’s lackluster performance, Odegaard urged Arsenal to look to the future now and recover quickly from elimination, confident they still have what it takes to hold off Manchester City and chase a historic title of the Premier League. “I think we did enough in some phases of the game, but for most of the game we weren’t at the level we should be,” Odegaard told BT Sport after the game.
“We didn’t play our best football. In the end it was a close game, it could have gone either way.

“They’re a good team, we knew that, we were prepared. It was more about us today, we didn’t play like we normally do, with the same energy as we normally do. Now we have to look ahead.

“You have to remember that it’s been a great season, it’s a blow to leave this competition. But now we are looking forward to the league, that’s all we can do now.

“We win and lose together. It does not matter. When we win everyone is happy, when we lose we have to refresh our spirits. We win and lose together.

Arteta has benched key players like Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Thomas Partey at the Emirates, although Gabriel Jesus was among the starters after his four-month absence with a knee injury.

Defenders Ben White and Rob Holding were quickly used at the start of the first half as Arteta was forced off Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba through injuries, disrupting the Spaniard’s game plan. equalize.

After using two of his three substitute windows at the end of the first half, Arsenal were unable to call on Odegaard until extra time and the Norwegian watched his side crumble towards the end of the game. second half.

The Gunners were on a roll in injury time and nearly took the lead thanks to Leandro Trossard, who hit the post after a deft save from Adan, and Gabriel Magalhaes, whose ball header was again thwarted by the Spanish goalkeeper.