Mikel Arteta revealed that he didn’t like the way Arsenal played after going 2-0 up at Bournemouth in Monday’s FA Cup win at the Vitality Stadium.
Goals from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nkeitah put the Gunners two goals to the good within 26 minutes, but they didn’t find the net again despite being comfortably on top.
Sam Surridge came off the bench to score for Bournemouth in the 94th minute to put late pressure on Arsenal, but the London club held on to secure progression to the next round.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Arteta admitted that, although he was happy with the way his side started, he was less impressed with the rest of what he saw.
The Spaniard said: “I think the way we started the game, the way we followed what we wanted to do, to create the spaces and the overloads in the areas that we wanted, and [that helped us] to score two fantastic goals.
“After that we became a little bit sloppy in our passing, the rhythm was too down and I didn’t like that very much.
“In the second half we knew they were going to push, they were going to put bodies forward.
“They are a good side and we allowed them to put crosses in the box and we suffered a little bit, and conceding the goal at the end makes it difficult and nervy.”
Having seen two of his young players make the difference on the night, Arteta singled out Saka and Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli for praise after the pair put in promising performances.
He said: “We need to find different ways to generate good situations for us and they are starting to understand what I am looking for from them.
“I would like us to be a little bit more flexible in the things we can do but at the moment, with the amount of injuries we have, it is not easy, but in general with the young lads I am really happy today.”
Arsenal now face a trip to League One Portsmouth in the next round, a game that will be played between the 2nd and 5th March.