Mikel Arteta admitted he was still haunted by Monday’s defeat to Newcastle as Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification despite a 5-1 victory over Everton at Emirates Stadium.
Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Cedric Soares, Gabriel Magalhaes and Martin Odegaard scored as the Gunners finished the Premier League season in fifth place, their fate sealed by Tottenham beating Norwich 5-0.
Only a Spurs collapse at Carrow Road would have seen Arsenal edge their north London rivals for fourth and Arteta felt the damage had already been done with the 2-0 defeat at St James’ Park that meant their destiny was no longer in their own hands.
“We knew that we needed a miracle and it didn’t occur. That’s it. The league table at the end of the season doesn’t lie,” Arteta said.
“It’s true that last season Chelsea were in the Champions League with 67 points. We have 69 and are out of it, but that’s the level and the demands that this league has now.
“I can not assess the season today. I’m sorry, I’m still in a lot of pain because of what happened on Monday and I would like to have a fair assessment on how well we’ve done.
“What I can guarantee you is that we have tried to squeeze the lemon as much as we possibly can to get every single drop. We’ve reached the point we have reached.
“We know where we have to go. The feeling of guilt at not reaching that level is painful.”
When asked what satisfaction he takes from qualifying for the Europa League, Arteta replied: “I don’t get much if I’m honest. Today I’m still in pain.
“That’s why I need the dust to settle and I need to get a few days on holiday because today I don’t think I’m able to reflect the season the way it is.”
Everton secured their Premier League survival with Thursday’s stunning comeback win against Crystal Palace and at Emirates Stadium they played like a team on the descent phase of an emotional roller coaster.
Frank Lampard made six changes and although Donny van de Beek’s strike, which made it 2-1 at half-time, was their only success, their manager was satisfied knowing relegation had been avoided.
“My immediate feeling is my absolute delight and relief that we’ve kept the club in the league,” Lampard said.
“We expended a lot of energy on Thursday. Our big final was on Thursday and we won it. This was just a step too far.
“We were in the game at half-time but in the second-half, and you can see from the goals at set-pieces, there were concentration issues.
“We weren’t in the right positions and didn’t deal with things.
“This was a difficult game for the players and Arsenal were playing for something when the game started.
“There’s nothing there for me to really shoe the players about too much. The reflections will be on the whole three and a half months since I’ve been here.”