Mikel Arteta admitted that Arsenal were “prepared” for some of the situations they had to defend against Manchester City, but still didn’t deal with them.
Arsenal slipped to a 1-0 defeat after Raheem Sterling headed home a Riyad Mahrez cross early in the game.
Despite there still being plenty of time left, there was no way back for the Gunners.
Arteta admitted that it was “tough” to deal with conceding early – especially given the manner of the goal.
He told Sky Sports: “When we conceded the first goal it put us in a difficult situation. It was tough.
“With the formation and the players they use they are really comfortable. After that the team reacted really well, were on top of the game and created chances but we lacked the quality in those situations to score the goal.
“We got something wrong. We didn’t do it in the first 10 minutes. It’s a cross and Raheem Sterling cannot head a ball there. You cannot concede that goal.
“It was a tactical thing that we were prepared for but we didn’t read it in the game.
“We got momentum and confidence and were really good on the ball as well. We found good spaces but when we were in the final third we didn’t pick the right pass to score a goal.”
Arteta knows all about City’s strengths having worked for them as a coach before. However, he also knows they don’t have many weaknesses, which made it a challenge for Arsenal.
He continued: “We tried to use some weaknesses that we thought we could exploit. They don’t have many! How they compete when they have in the last few minutes, they are a top side.
“Today they played a little bit differently but within that organisation they can do lots of really good things. They manage the situation really well.”
Attention switches to Europa League
Arteta’s attention must now immediately turn to their Europa League tie with Benfica on Thursday.
The two sides are level after the first leg of their Round of 32 clash, and Arteta is eager to progress.
He said: “We have a final on Thursday because we want to continue in the competition.
“We have to sleep, eat and we won’t have time to train then we fly to Greece.”
The manager also confirmed that one of his players is feeling alright, after Rob Holding went off as a concussion substitute.
Arteta said of the defender: “Yes he is okay.”