Odegaard implores Arsenal to toughen up following Europa League elimination

    Martin Odegaard called on Arsenal to “come back stronger” after being knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting.

    Gabriel Martinelli’s missed penalty in the shoot-out saw the Gunners lose the second leg of their last 16 matches at Emirates Stadium, drawing both legs.

    The result means that Arsenal have failed to win any of their last five play-off matches at home in the Europa League (D3 L2) since beating Valencia in May 2019.

    All eyes will now be on the Premier League campaign, with Arsenal holding a five-point lead over Manchester City with 11 games to go, and Ødegaard wants his side to respond against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

    “I think in some parts of the game we did enough, but for most of the game we were not at the level we should be,” he told BT Sport.

    “We played part of the game well, but throughout the game we didn’t play our best football. After all, it was a tense game that could end both ways.

    “It’s a good team, we knew that, we knew their qualities and we were ready, but I think today it was more about us.

    “We didn’t play like we usually do and maybe we didn’t put the energy in like we usually do. It’s disappointing, but now we have to look ahead and be ready for Sunday.

    “We have to remember that it was a great season, we did amazing things this year. Of course, the elimination from this competition is a big blow, it was a big goal for us, but now we have to look forward.

    “We have to look on Sunday, come back stronger and make sure we finish well in the league, that’s the only thing we can do right now.

    “We win and we lose together. It does not matter. When we win, everyone is happy, when we lose, we need to cheer up. We win and lose together.”

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