Unai Emery has accepted the superiority of Manchester City’s quality as his Arsenal side fell 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Super Sunday.
Sergio Aguero’s hat-trick – paired with weekend wins for Chelsea and Manchester United – means Arsenal are now sixth in the Premier League, three points off the top four.
Though Arsenal were in the game at 1-1 approaching half-time, Emery felt City showed their superiority over 90 minutes and thoroughly deserved the win.
He told Sky Sports: “They showed their superiority in 90 minutes. First 45 minutes, we held well for the result, defending together and doing some counter-attack, taking chances to be in the match.
“But after 2-1, the second half they showed their superiority. We did not have the chances to get in the box, and the result is clear.
“We needed to play together in defence and together in attack, but we cannot get the result we want. But today I think they showed the difference between City and us, and our challenge now is working and improving.”
Arsenal failed to register a shot in the second half, after Aguero’s goal late in the first knocked the stuffing out of Emery’s side.
But Emery says it is now necessary to keep calm as Arsenal find themselves in a tough, three-way battle for the Champions League spots.
“I think [City] held their level in the 90 minutes, and our level in the second half is worse than the first.
“We want to be in the match every time, but the second half and after the goal, our mentality is not in keeping with going to win the match.
“I have confidence in the work, in the way, and I know now for example we need to be calm.”