Arteta 'so proud' of Arsenal players despite defeat at Everton
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is still "so proud" of his players despite the leaders slipping to a 1-0 defeat at lowly Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.
The defeat, which came courtesy of James Tarkowski's second-half header at Goodison Park, was just Arsenal's second of the Premier League season – their first coming against Manchester United at Old Trafford in September.
The result means Manchester City can cut the Gunners' lead at the top of the table to just two points with victory over Tottenham on Sunday, although the London side will have a game in hand.
Arteta, who became the first Arsenal manager to lose three consecutive away Premier League games against the Toffees, lamented his side's inability to deal with Everton's physical threat, but hopes it will act as an important lesson for the remainder of the season.
“We had loads of the ball and we generated many chances, but we lacked that purpose and quality in the final third," he told BT Sport.
"Then we conceded and they slowed the game down and we struggled.
"They do this to every team. Their physicality is their strength. If you want to control the game against them you have to control this. We did not do that.
"We needed more composure and to better control the game emotionally. We gave away so many unnecessary free-kicks and that's what they want.
"Today I love them much better than the week before or a month ago. It is easy to be next to someone when they are winning well. I am still so proud of all of these players, they deserve it.
"This is not going to be a rosy pathway. This is going to be tricky and we will have to dig in and play much better than we did today."
Arsenal will hope to return to winning ways against Brentford next Saturday, before a mouth-watering clash with Pep Guardiola’s City four days later.