Nuno Tavares has confessed Monday’s defeat to Crystal Palace was “extremely frustrating” with his evening lasting 45 minutes.
The Portuguese defender started in the back four with Kieran Tierney absent due to a knee issue. Arsenal were aiming to go back into the top four but missed out as they were well beaten at Selhurst Park. The Eagles were 2-0 up at the break and Mikel Arteta rang the changes, hooking Tavares.
He had been targeted by the Palace forwards and was subbed off for Gabriel Martinelli. Tavares, a summer signing, has seen his opportunities come and go with Tierney the club’s first choice in that role, but he is determined to learn from the experience and respond.
Tavares wrote on Twitter: “Monday was an extremely frustrating night for me personally, for the team and the fans. It’s important to pick ourselves up, learn from the mistakes and react positively for Saturday’s game. Still a lot to fight for. COYG.”
Despite Arteta’s half-time changes the Gunners were unable to haul themselves out of a hole and ended up losing 3-0 with Wilfried Zaha scoring from the spot. It means Tottenham now occupy the final Champions League spot with a north London derby still to come.
Arteta explained his reasons for making the half-time change, stating: “Today it was just a tactical reason. How I want to do it with what Palace was doing and how we could attack and control the game much better in that position We put on another attacking midfielder with Emile in that space and that was the only reason. I’m sorry that it was Nuno again but we had to do it.”
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The Spaniard also apologised to the club’s travelling fans, who had little to cheer about on the other side of the capital. He said on Sky Sports: “Congratulations to Palace for the game they played but we made it impossible for ourselves with the way we competed. You have to be physical and run and then you earn the right to play. We were really inconsistent on the ball and that is unacceptable.
“We were poor, especially in the first half. I apologise to our supporters. We didn’t have the presence today or the composure to dominate the situation so that is what I’m most annoyed with. Some days you are not there and you are late all the time. They got on top of it and had a good atmosphere and we could not get out.
“When we had the big chances we didn’t score to give ourselves the best chance to get back in the game. First of all we need to put our hands up and get the criticism we deserve. Then we accept it, look ourselves in the mirror and look to the next game. This was not good enough.”