The Gunners were held by Villarreal in the semi-final on Thursday as their 2020-21 failures continued to mount
Bernd Leno described Arsenal’s dressing room mood as somber after they exited the Europa League through a 0-0 semi-final second leg draw with Villarreal on Thursday.
The goalkeeper called the Gunners’ performance “not good enough” and “very hard for all of us” as the hosts failed to overturn their 2-1 deficit from the first leg. They managed just two shots on target despite holding the vast majority of possession.
Arsenal are now almost certainly out of contention for Champions League qualification, as the Europa League had served as the club’s last realistic avenue to earn a place in next year’s tournament given their subpar domestic campaign.
What has been said?
“It’s very hard for all of us,” Leno told BT Sport. “Also for the fans. We are all sad. Hopefully we can make next season better than this season but this season isn’t over and in our final four games we must fight for this club and show that we love this club.”
“I think that the problem was that we didn’t take our chances. Overall we were the better side. In the first half in Villarreal we were not on our level and that is what beat us.
“In the first half of the first leg we were not at our best but in that second half and today we put everything in. But it was not enough, not good enough.
“A semi-final experience is very important but this is no excuse. We had enough chances to go through. We needed just one goal. It’s too easy to say it’s just experience.”
Arsenal’s season has fallen short in almost every respect, and they will play out their final four Premier League matches hoping to find positives entering the summer. There is also the chance to damage Chelsea’s top-four hopes when they meet Thomas Tuchel’s squad on May 12.
But the Europa League was the Gunners’ last hope of silverware this campaign, and as Leno articulated, the dull manner they crashed out of the competition will sting.