Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has spoken about his style of play and says mistakes like the one from Bernd Leno will happen.
It was an average night for the Gunners in Austria, as goals from David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw them win 2-1 against Rapid Vienna after Bernd Leno’s error had gifted the hosts a second-half lead.
Arsenal were poor for the first hour of the game, culminating with Leno presenting possession to the opposition as he looked to play out from the back and Taxiarchis Fountas putting Rapid ahead.
Leno’s confidence was clearly knocked and he made two further mistakes that, fortunately for Arsenal, did not lead to goals.
Instead they rallied and struck twice in four minutes, Luiz heading in a Nicolas Pepe free-kick before Aubameyang – who came off the bench 13 minutes earlier – combined with fellow substitute Hector Bellerin to turn home a 74th-minute winner from close range.
After the game, Arteta defended Leno and says his side playing out from defence is a tactic that is here to stay.
“We made it a little bit harder with some decisions we made and the goal we conceded, which if anything is obviously my fault because I demand that we do those things,” said the Arsenal boss.
“It is a part of our game model. We need to understand when we can do it and when we should kick the ball to the stand. It is a big part of what we’re trying to do but we recognise from the outside it’s much easier than inside.
“He (Leno) has the courage to do it, we have been very successful at doing it as well with the amount of goals we have scored even in important games. We need to find the right balance but I will keep encouraging them to do it in the right moments.
“They will understand better and better the type of balls that we have to play in those areas and in relation to where the pressure is coming and the type of distances you can manage from the opponent.
“After that everything will be better. In a split second you have to make a decision, you have to make the right touch and the right pass. The opponents as well are intuitive and they are waiting for that.
“It’s something we have to keep working on because we want to play the way I want to. It’s necessary that I keep using both in our build-up play.”
Arteta hails Partey
Meanwhile, Arteta heaped praise on Thomas Partey after he impressed on his full Arsenal debut in their comeback Europa League win.
The 27-year-old Ghana international had been a long-term target for Arsenal before they finally landed their man from Atletico Madrid in the closing hours of the transfer window.
He made his debut off the bench in Saturday’s Premier League defeat at Manchester City but was comfortable from the outset on his first start.
“To be fair he looked really solid, really comfortable,” Arteta said after his side won their Group B opener.
“I think he held the midfield by himself in the second half as well when we were a little bit more open and we started to take more chances attacking certain spaces with some players.
“But I think he was fantastic tonight and there is much more to come from him obviously.
“Obviously we know that with the price that we paid for him and the profile that he has, he is going to have a lot of people looking at him in every single game.
“But it’s about the structure we have as a team, the flow, the unity and the cohesion that we need in our team and he is one piece of that. Hopefully he is a big piece.”