Mikel Arteta praised Thomas Partey for his “fantastic” first start in an Arsenal shirt, but admitted the team as a whole made life harder for themselves than they needed at times.
The Gunners got their Europa League campaign off to a winning start by coming from behind to beat Rapid Vienna.
It wasn’t as straightforward as they would have been hoping for, but goals from David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ensured they got the win.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Arteta admitted that Arsenal needed a good reaction to get the result they wanted.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult match,” he said. “We made it harder in the beginning with the goal we conceded.
“I really like the reaction. The second half we understood much better the spaces we have to attack.
“In general we scored two good goals, the second was fantastic. We are delighted to start with victory.”
Arsenal fell behind due to an error from Bernd Leno when the goalkeeper was trying to play out from the back. It was not the only nervous moment they had doing so.
However, Arteta insists building play from deep is part of their game – even though they need to pick their moments.
“It’s part of our game,” he said. “We need to understand when we can do that and when we should kick the ball into the stands.
“They will understand better and better the type of balls we have to play in those areas and to who in relation to the pressure that’s coming.”
Arteta rates Partey’s full debut
One of Arsenal’s best performers was Thomas Partey, who was making his first start for the club since joining them in the summer.
The Ghana international stood out, and Arteta insists it is just the beginning for the former Atletico Madrid midfielder.
“Partey looked really solid, really comfortable,” he said. “He held midfield by himself in the second half when we were more open.
“He was fantastic tonight and there’s much more to come.
“We know with the price we paid for him he’s going to have a lot of people looking to him.”
One midfielder who was not involved, of course, was Mesut Ozil – who has been left out of Arsenal’s squad list for the season.
However, the German international was keeping a keen eye on the game, providing his own running commentary via his Twitter account.
Before the game, Ozil tweeted his prediction that Arsenal would win 4-1. While it didn’t come true, Arteta was asked about the message from his frozen out player.
“It’s great,” Arteta responded. “This is what I want from the players who aren’t in the squad.”