Mikel Arteta admits it could be YEARS until Arsenal win the Champions League after reality check against Bayern Munich – and says he ‘can’t find the words’ to lift his devastated players

A pained Mikel Arteta warned that it could be years before Arsenal lift their first Champions League title after crashing out of the quarter-finals to Bayern Munich last night.

Following last week’s 2-2 draw in the first leg in London, both teams had all to play for. Yet, Joshua Kimmich’s powerful 63rd-minute header from Raphael Guerreiro’s cross sent the six-time European Cup winners through to the semi-finals 3-2 on aggregate.

The Gunners now only have the Premier League to compete for, with their season teetering on the edge of being one without silverware.

Arteta said: ‘The players are gutted in the dressing room. I cannot find the right words to lift them, I wish I could. We have to go through it.

‘We tried against a team that had a lot of experience, the margins across the tie have been very small. We made a mistake defending the box and we conceded a goal.

Mikel Arteta admitted it could be years until Arsenal lift the Champions League

‘The club hasn’t been in the Champions League for seven years, and in the first year back [people expect us to] play in the semi-final and final.

‘We all wanted that, so badly, but you can see with many other clubs it takes six or seven years to get to this stage. We were very close, that’s the reality.’

Arsenal lost 2-0 to Aston Villa in the league on Sunday and face Wolves this Saturday. It is the first time since May 2023 in which the north London club have lost consecutive matches without scoring in either game.

Though Arteta has called on supporters to stay behind his men at a time of need.

‘It’s not going to go away (the pain) certainly tonight, but I can guarantee you by tomorrow we’re fully focused on Wolves and everybody is lifted,’ he said.

‘What we still have to play for is beautiful. I said before it’s time to be next to these players. It’s easy to be behind them and praise the players and talk nice things when we win 10 in a row and one draw. The moment is now to be behind them and be next to them.’

Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel was full of praise for Arsenal and believes they are at the level required to win silverware.

Many thought Arsenal could reach the semi-finals despite a seven-year absence from the competition

Many thought Arsenal could reach the semi-finals despite a seven-year absence from the competition

Tuchel said: ‘They (Arsenal) are there. For me, they are an elite team. It was a very, very close result. Maybe what they miss a little bit is a bit more experience in these knockout stages.

‘I would not judge them now on this week where some of the results are a bit complicated, but in my opinion they are an elite team.’

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