Arsenal boss Unai Emery believes his team improved defensively despite the late equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Vitoria Guimaraes on Wednesday.
The Gunners are on course to achieve their objective of progressing as Group F winners, despite being pegged back late on by Bruno Duarte after Arsenal’s defence failed to clear a right-wing cross.
That cancelled out Shkodran Mustafi’s 81st-minute header from Nicolas Pepe’s cross and the defender afterwards called for calm.
Emery meanwhile thought his side showed improvement and explained why they couldn’t breakthrough the home defence until 10 minutes from time.
The Spaniard said: “The players worked and tried. We came really close to the win. Our objective in this competition is to come first in the group – at the moment we are.
“We tried but they are a very competitive team. What was very important for us today was to be strong defensively and I thought we did that. It was 1-1 but I think we were defensively better.
“Offensively against this team it is not easy to create chances. Overall, it is not good because we want to win but for the table we are first and that is our target.
“In this competition our objective is to be first in the group.
“We are going to play the next two matches to make sure we’re in that position. Now we’re going to prepare for a new competition.
“We worked, we played, fighting against a team with strong organisation. When we did the most difficult, score one goal, they drew at the end. It’s a little disappointing for that result.
“We’re first in the group, we want to make sure of that position in the next matches.
“Our objective this evening was to have a clean sheet. We need to improve defensively and be strong in that moment.
“We are using each match to achieve that. We didn’t achieve that against Vitoria Guimaraes.
“In that competition we’re taking good results, taking a lot of goals and not conceding a lot of goals.
“They are very defensive, with a big structure defensively. They were defending very deep and together. To create and find small space is not easy against that team.
“We want to improve, to continue in our way, to be strong defensively and create chances to score.
“Today our objective we did, to be first in the group. A little disappointed because we didn’t win.”
Emery also ruled out midfielder Ceballos, who limped off in the second half with a hamstring problem, for their Premier League clash at Leicester on Saturday evening.
He added: “Yes, he has a small injury but I don’t think he is going to be (available) this week.”