Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that his side’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in Thursday night’s Europa League semi-final first leg tie at the Emirates Stadium “feels like an opportunity missed”.
The visitors went a man down after just 10 minutes when Sime Vrsaljko was dismissed for two yellow cards, and coach Diego Simeone was banished to the stands shortly afterwards.
The Gunners missed a number of goal-scoring chances in the game and took the lead through French forward Alexandre Lacazette in the 61st minute, only for Antoine Griezmann to level scores eight minutes from the end.
“Looking at the performance and the way the game went, it was the worst possible result for us, but we have to go there in a positive mood and qualify,” Wenger stated after the game.
“Unfortunately, we gave a goal away from nowhere but now we need to recover from the disappointment and prepare for the next game.
“Of course, it feels like an opportunity missed. We could have qualified tonight but it didn’t happen. Their keeper made a lot of saves and they showed their quality by scoring with one chance. But they couldn’t score with a combination, they could only do it with a long ball, so we have to look at ourselves.
“You don’t look at the statistics, you can only look at your own performance and we know we can score from anywhere. What matters is that we go there with the belief to do it.”
The return leg of the tie takes place at the Wanda Metropolitano next Thursday, with the winner set to face either Marseille or Red Bull Salzburg in the final.