Mikel Arteta has praised his Arsenal side for “digging in” and seeing FC Zurich through as winners of their Europa League group.
The Gunners secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory on Thursday night, with Kieran Tierney the surprise match-winner with a fine first-half strike that settled the contest.
PSV Eindhoven’s result needed to match Bodo/Glimt Arteta’s side – featuring seven changes from Sunday’s 5-0 Premier League win over Nottingham Forest – failed to fire.
But, while Manchester United had only managed to finish second in their group earlier in the evening, the win means Arsenal will avoid the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Sevilla as they receive a bye in the round of 16.
“We expected a really tough match,” Arteta said.
“We saw how they changed after the new manager came in, it was difficult to get any real momentum, we had to adapt.
“We had some big chances that we didn’t miss and we made the game more difficult in the last 20 minutes.
We didn’t control certain situations and we had to dig in, which we did. We found a way to win and we are top of the group.Mikel Arteta
“We didn’t control some situations and we had to dig in, which we did. We found a way to win and we’re top of the group.
Arteta also insists he believes Gabriel Jesus’ goal drought will end soon as the Brazilian has now gone eight games without finding the back of the net.
“That’s going to change,” added the Spaniard.
“He’s getting chances, contributing so much to the team, helping us win matches with the way he competes for every ball, it’s unbelievable.
“It will come. He needs to be patient. He’s been through these spells in the past and he needs to learn that lesson and not stop doing what he does so well because it’s going to hurt him. And the level of the team will remain the same.
Zurich had a goal denied late on and winger Jonathan Okita felt the visitors used themselves well.
“In the last 10 minutes we tried to push forward a bit, but of course it’s not easy,” he said.
“Arsenal are a good team and we tried to do our best. We gave 100 percent today and we are happy with our performance.
“We had a tough start to the season and the fans were always with us, supporting us, cheering us on, singing all the time. Today you could see how they sang for the whole game.
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