Soccer

Martin Odegaard admits Arsenal must learn from crushing Brighton defeat

Martin Odegaard was left frustrated by Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Brighton (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/PA)
Martin Odegaard was left frustrated by Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Brighton (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/PA) Martin Odegaard was left frustrated by Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Brighton (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/PA)

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard admits they must learn from Sunday’s crushing 3-0 defeat at home to Brighton.

The Gunners’ faint title hopes went up in smoke after second-half goals from Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan earned the visitors a stunning victory at the Emirates.

Premier League leaders Manchester City now need only one more win from their final three games to clinch the title but they could be crowned champions without playing if Arsenal lose at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

City won 3-0 at Everton before the Gunners’ clash with Brighton and despite a strong first-half showing, Mikel Arteta’s side folded with the Seagulls going in front in the 51st minute through Enciso before they picked off the hosts with late goals from Undav and Estupinan.

Asked if mentality was an issue, Odegaard insisted: “No, I don’t think so.

“I felt like we were good going into the game but yeah, in the game, it was a different story.

“We have to accept that and learn from it.

“In the first half we did a lot of good things and we had some moments where we could create some big chances and maybe score a goal or two.

“Then in the second half we gave them more and more momentum. They are dangerous when they go direct and especially on our right side, they attacked us there a bit too easy in behind but it is hard to say at the moment. A lot of things we could do better.”

While Arsenal boss Arteta did not admit defeat in the title race, Odegaard conceded their hopes were probably over.

City’s success at Goodison Park made it 11 Premier League wins in a row and the championship is expected to be decided this coming weekend.

Odegaard told Sky Sports: “Yeah, it feels like that (the title is over). I think it is going to be very difficult now. We have to be honest, so it is tough to take.

“It is not a good feeling at the moment. The way we played, especially in the second half, I don’t know what happened to be honest but big, big disappointment.

“Yeah, it feels like there is no hope now.”

Brighton produced a scintillating second-half display to get their unlikely top-four charge back on track after they had suffered a surprise 5-1 home defeat to Everton last Monday.

Roberto De Zerbi wheeled off down the touchline after Undaz’s 86th-minute lob before he dropped to his knees in celebration after Estupinan wrapped up the scoring.

The Italian played down comparisons with Jose Mourinho, who did similar during his time at Porto in a match against Manchester United in 2004, but admitted the sky is the limit for him and his team.

“Jose Mourinho is a great manager but I have this character, this passion,” De Zerbi stated.

“I don’t know (about the future). I am focused only on qualifying for Europe now.

“In my future I want to dream because I am used to giving everything in my work. I live for my work and I want to dream. I want to reach the impossible target always.

“Now with Brighton. Before with Shakhtar, before with Sassuolo. When I work in football, I want to fix the target very high and if I lose, I lose and we start stronger.”

De Zerbi did remain coy over the absence of Robert Sanchez, who had been his first-choice goalkeeper up until February.

“We spoke two days ago and we found an agreement that today he is not going to come here,” De Zerbi explained.

“He knew he was not going to play so we found an agreement.”