Arsenal boss Arteta backs Martinelli to recover from penalty heartbreak after costly Sporting miss… just like Saka did
MIKEL ARTETA backed Gabriel Martinello to get over his shoot-out heartache as Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League on penalties.
Brazilian international Martinelli saw his spot-kick saved by Sporting Lisbon keeper Antonio Adan on a night of Emirates drama.
Gabriel Martinelli suffered penalty heartbreak against Sporting LisbonRichard Pelham / The Sun
Bukayo Saka, pictured being consoled by Gareth Southgate, missed the crucial kick for England in the final of Euro 2020Getty
But Arteta insisted: “When you take the decision to take a penalty, the possibility of missing is always there. But Gabi will learn from it like Bukayo Saka did two years ago.
“This result is a huge blow. We really wanted to go through and fight for this competition. We tried for 120 minutes and penalties but it wasn’t enough.
“The effort the boys put in even when we were not at our best and the hunger they showed to win was incredible.
“Today was not our day. We gave the ball away many, many times and we need to look at ourselves because we can’t keep relying on the last 20 minutes to win these games.
“It’s true that in the last 15 minutes we had the chances and then in extra-time the chances to win it.
“But when it goes down to the penalties there’s always a lot of uncertainty and tonight we lost it.
“The disappointment of this result is not going to go away quickly, but at least it brings us clarity.
“Now we have 11 games to play in the League and we have to recover our energy and pick ourselves up for a cup final against Crystal Palace on Sunday.”
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But Arteta is now facing an Arsenal defensive dilemma after William Saliba and Takehiro Timiyasu were both forced off by injury in the first 20 minutes of last night’s tie.
He said: “Tomi looks really serious from his immediate reaction and what he said to me when he came off. It’s very difficult to know how bad his injury is going to be.
“Saliba had some discomfort and we had to take him off but we’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season and we’ve always managed to deal with that.
“When they came off so early we were really restricted with the changes because we only had one more window and one sub left.
“So we had to take Gabriel Jesus off at half-time because he was coming back from injury and we knew the game could go to extra-time so we had to manage the subs. But he looked OK.”
Skipper Martin Odegaard said: “It’s a big blow to go out of this competition but we have to remember it’s been a great season and all we can do now is look forward to the League.
“We win together and we lose together. When we’re winning everyone is happy and when we lose we have to pick up the spirit.,
“We did enough in some periods but for most of the game we weren’t on the level we should be.
“We didn’t play our best football and we didn’t play with our normal energy but it was still a game which could have gone either way.”