Our fuel tank was empty. Deserved win for Arsenal

Jindřich Trpišovský on the unsuccessful first half, tiredness, team progress and missing fans after the second leg against Arsenal.

On the conceded goals

“We haven’t played a bad part until the first goal. Then, within fifteen minutes, we lost four balls in the middle of the pitch and conceded goals from similar counter-attacks. The first one was disallowed, then we conceded the first goal when we couldn’t clear the ball from the box, the other two after the wingers outrun our defence. Arsenal were quickly 3-0 up and despite trying to get to some opportunities, we were losing many balls. For the rest of the game, we just wanted to score at least one goal for the fans, but Arsenal showed great quality and we still had to cover all the dangerous counters and had to work hard in defence.”

On Arsenal performance

“It was a deserved progress for Arsenal. Our fuel tank was empty, we couldn’t run as we did against Leicester and Rangers. Our opponents were better in terms of fitness strength and we simply could not catch them. Arsenal showed their quality. Saka’s performances on the wing, that’s something I haven’t seen for a long time. ”

On Slavia play

“We made some terrible mistakes, and the opponents were better in several parameters. But there were some positive signs. Tomáš Holeš and David Zima saved us several times, and for me it is incredible what Lukáš Provod showed. But if we compare his numbers to those against Leicester or Rangers, those were better, of course. The tiredness was extreme.”

On half-time substitutions

“Some of the players did not play well, they were on the verge of being substituted earlier. But after we conceded the penalty, we left the changes to the break. Peter Olayinka started despite health problems and he won’t be available for a longer period. The same for Abdallah Sima. We were also missing several players in the defence and we made mistakes we usually avoid.”

On the tiredness

“I don’t like to talk about tiredness, we are here to overcome it. But it is visible after the international break. Abdallah Sima came back injured, so did Ondra Kúdela. Some of the players would need a week off, or at least two days with no dressing room, no football boots. But it was not possible, we had several important games ahead. If you add up all minutes for Provi [Ondřej Provod] and Honza Bořil, it is a lot. Then the game against Arsenal comes. We have data from the vests, we know that the lads gave everything, but they didn’t come even close to the numbers from Leicester or Rangers. Pace or distance, we were 15 to 20 per cent lower than usual.”

On missing fans

“We are sorry for the result. Of course, we could focus only on deep block after the break and we wouldn’t concede, but there were people at the stadium, many others watching TV. We wanted to at least score for them. That’s why we kept playing an open part. We are missing the fans terribly, we all have king of a withdrawal syndrome. We need emotions, those games are missing the unique atmosphere, the direct contact. And we played big games this season. But children returned to schools here, they are tested regularly, I hope it will be possible to have people back at the stadium soon.”

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