Mikel Arteta has hailed the fighing spirit of his players after they team bravely held Liverpool with 10-men for 66 mins last night in their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield.
Granit Xhaka was sent off in the 24th minute for a reckless lunge as the last man on Diogo Jota, which forced the Gunners to successfully stick to their defensive formation for the remainder of the game.
Yet it was Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka who wasted the first effort on target from either side in the 71st minute, before Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino missed a late open goal.
Arteta told Sky Sports: “When you come to a stadium like this, I said to them you have to pick players who are happy to go to war with, going to fight.
“You are going to have difficult moments when you suffer. It is about how you approach those moments.
“If you are willing to help your team, willing to accept that in some moments you are not going to play the game you want then good things are going to happen.
“When you play with that spirit, fight and brotherhood around the team, in the end you get rewarded. That is what happened.
“We revel against the situation. The players showed great fight, determination, brotherhood. You saw the emotion, we never gave up.
“I don’t know if the red card inspired them but it took the fight.
“We played the game we had to play, which is not our game. I have not seen it back, they checked it so probably a red card.
“To plan with the numbers we have, we don’t have any midfielders, becomes really complicated.
“The extra motivation to play a derby [at Tottenham on Sunday] brings the energy when you don’t have it. No excuses, we have to play it.”
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