Arsenal boss Unai Emery has pinpointed where his side went wrong in Friday’s 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.
Alexis Sanchez was making his comeback from a hamstring injury and bagged an impressive goal on his Emirates Stadium return to set United on the way to an FA Cup fourth-round win.
Further goals from Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial, either side of a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang effort for Arsenal, sent United through to the fifth round and made it eight wins from eight under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s interim spell.
Asked if the Gunners need to improve defensively, especially against the quick counter-attack, Emery said: “Yes, but today, for example, we worked to stop the counter attack.
“I think because they have very big players to do the counter attack in transition. They give us problems for that. We worked well in the first goal in the transition, but the second one.
“The second half we were closer with the possibility to score and draw the match. We took some risks but it’s the moment we need to take some risks and they score the third goal.
“We need to continue improving. I think the last two games before against West Ham and Chelsea we played and worked well defensively. Today it is more difficult to stop the transition and we need also to work attacking because we wanted to win.
“We had a good balance in a lot of moments but they have big players with a very big quality and can do this difference.”
Arsenal’s chances were hampered by injuries to defenders Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny, who has gone to hospital with a possible broken jaw.
“I think they weren’t big injuries for Sokratis (ankle),” Emery added. “Maybe Laurent Koscielny is going to hospital to [analyse] what injury he has. Maybe he’s broken his jaw but I hope not.
“I’m happy because I think our work is good, but the result is bad. Today it’s the result and the injuries.
“They don’t help us to be in the match, maybe when the result’s 1-2. In this moment we had the possibility to grow and to win, but these injuries – especially the one to Koscielny – didn’t help us because our rhythm went down.
“Also, we needed to change different players to play at centre-back.
“They were very clinical today and in the moments when we attacked, we got into the box but couldn’t produce the last action to score.
“We deserved more but we played against Manchester United who are in their best moment of the season, and they have a lot of players to make the difference. (Marcus) Rashford and Martial came on as well.”