‘It’s really hurting,’ says Mikel Arteta after Arsenal knocked out of FA Cup | FA Cup

A disappointed Mikel Arteta lamented his side’s lack of “purpose and determination” after Arsenal were sent tumbling out of the FA Cup by an impressive Nottingham Forest, saying they had not been hungry enough to turn the game in their favour.

Lewis Grabban’s 83rd-minute winner settled a tight affair in favour of the Championship team and Arsenal, whose only genuine chance was fluffed by Eddie Nketiah, rarely threatened to turn a 67% share of possession into goals. It means they exit a competition that Arteta won in 2019-20, his first season as manager, and he was frustrated by the meek nature of their display.

“It’s really hurting,” he said. “It’s a competition that is very related to our history and to get out of it today is a big bump.

“I’m really disappointed with the performance, first of all. Not with the attitude, but how much purpose we had and what determination we showed to change the game when it’s difficult to play against [them] and the way they play. We needed more drive, more hunger to win at any cost in every single action, much more. We were not there at our level today.”

Arteta substituted Nuno Tavares in the 35th minute after a shaky performance from the second-choice left-back and confirmed it had not been due to injury. “I just needed to try to improve the performance with the team,” he said. “I understand [that it will make a story] but I have to make the decision to try and improve the performance of the team when I see that it is not going in any other direction.”

Arsenal were missing a number of first-choice players, Granit Xhaka among them after testing positive for Covid-19, but Arteta said he had not seen the defeat coming. “I know because I have played in games like that for the last 18 years and it’s no surprise the difficulties you are going to face, but when we do that we have to face it in a different way,” he said.

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The Forest manager, Steve Cooper, was understandably delighted with his team’s application. “The players were really engaged with what it took to win,” he said. “Whoever we play, we want to play a certain way. It’s great to do it against a team who we don’t face week in, week out.”

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