Mathieu Flamini says Arsenal can take heart from qualfiying from a very tough Champions League group despite the fact the Gunners squandered an opportunity to top Group F.
Late goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Lorenzo Insigne condemned the Gunners to a 2-0 defeat but with Borussia Dortmund beating Marseille and three sides finishing on 12 points, the Frenchman inferred that the prospect of playing either Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich or Paris Saint Germain is a small price to pay for progression from a tough group.
“It is never good to lose a game,” Flamini told UEFA.com.
“We wanted to finish top of the group, but that is how it went today. Napoli played a great game and were unlucky. It went right to the end with three very good teams. Everybody was on 12 points so it was very close.
“It is hard for Napoli because today they won 2-0, but what was important for us was qualifying. I would say this has been [the most difficult group stage I have been in]. It was one of the hardest because you have a team like Napoli who have not qualified and we have finished second, level with them on 12 points. So of course it was one of the hardest.
“We will play a big team, but we knew that. When you finish second, you know you have to face a group winner so that is the way it is. Anyway, if you want to go to the final and try to win something, you have to play all the big teams. I do not really have a preference. We will see what happens with the draw.”
Chatting pitchside straight after the defeat Per Mertesacker echoed the Frenchman’s words, also admitting that the Gunners struggled to overcome the psychological impact of knowing they didn’t have win to qualify.
“It is a bit of a strange atmosphere at the moment because we lost the game. We were always on the back foot. We gave 10% less mentally because we always thought we were through. We were lucky today, but we deserved [to go through]. It was a difficult group.”6,589 views