Football: Arsenal weren’t good enough, admits Arteta as PSV seal passage in Europa League

Andre Ramalho and Joey Veerman of PSV Eindhoven celebrate Veerman's goal in the 55th minute. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

EINDHOVEN – Arsenal have to quickly put Thursday’s disappointing 2-0 Europa League defeat at PSV Eindhoven behind them as they face a hectic fixture schedule, manager Mikel Arteta said.

PSV advanced to the knockout stage of Europe’s second-tier competition following goals from Joey Veerman and Luuk de Jong. The result ended Arsenal’s 100 per cent start to Group A, though they had already sealed a place in the top two before the loss. With one game left, the Gunners are two points ahead of PSV (10).

Arteta’s side face two home games in the next seven days – against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Sunday, then FC Zurich in their final Europa League group game on Thursday.

“I’m very disappointed. It’s the end of a long run where we won a lot of games and today is our first defeat (since the start of September) and we have to reset,” Arteta said.

Manchester United won 3-1 at home to Arsenal on Sept 3 to inflict their only Premier League defeat so far this season.

“Congratulations to PSV – they were the better team today. We were nowhere near our level and we know that in Europe, it’s very difficult to win (then),” added Arteta.

“We’re disappointed tonight but there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to react. On Sunday, we have a really important game, and then we’ll look at Zurich.

“We have to be much better than we were today. We knew what they were trying to do and the way we executed certain actions, the way we competed, it wasn’t good enough.” 

PSV ensured their passage to the knockout phase following Bodo/Glimt’s 2-1 defeat by Zurich in the other game.

The Dutch side had two first-half efforts chalked off for offside but took a deserved lead through Veerman in the 55th minute when he clipped a left-footed effort past Aaron Ramsdale before substitute de Jong made it two with a header moments later.

Arteta brought on Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus to try to salvage something from the game but they failed to find a way past a dogged PSV.

“It’s a huge game for us. The ambition to show what we can do against a team like Arsenal was a huge ambition. It’s a huge win for us in that sense,” said PSV coach Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The group winners qualify for the last 16 while the eight runners-up will compete in February’s play-offs where they face the eight teams coming third in their Champions League groups. 

Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Pedro were on target as the Italians came from behind to beat Midtjylland 2-1, and were joined on eight points in Group F by Sturm Graz, who defeated Feyenoord 1-0 with a 93rd-minute winner from Otar Kiteishvili. Any of the four teams could still advance from that group. 

In Group B, Fenerbahce recovered from a 3-0 deficit against Stade Rennais as goals from Enner Valencia, Miha Zajc and Emre Mor helped the Turkish side secure a 3-3 draw. Both teams had already qualified for the knockout stage. REUTERS

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