Unai Emery admitted that Tottenham Hotspur are ahead of Arsenal in their development after the Gunners lost 2-0 to their London rivals in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Goals from Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli meant Arsenal suffered defeat for the second game running, after Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Southampton.
Arsenal boss Emery was satisfied with his side’s performance, but wasn’t afraid to admit that their rivals have a stronger identity at present.
Emery said: “I think we worked like we want, like we prepared.
“We created chances in the first half to score but our efficiency wasn’t good for us.
“We didn’t concede a lot for them, but they have quality and they scored.
“The first one on one for us, Mkhi had his saved. The first for them, they scored.
“I am happy with the performance, but not the result.
“We are doing our process, they are ahead of us in their process.
“We need to create our identity.”
Emery was keen to praise Granit Xhaka, who slotted into unfamiliar territory at centre-back.
“They are helping us with their commitment, playing in a different position because the team needs them.
“He is helping and I am happy with him and his performance.
“His commitment to help us is very important.”
However, much was made of Emery’s decision to leave Mesut Ozil out of the squad for the game, and the coach revealed the process behind the decision, while remaining coy when asked if the midfielder could be sold in January.
“It was tactical. I thought the players today with us were the best for this match.
“I am thinking of the match, I am not thinking about another situation.
“Every player is important. One I decided didn’t play, it was a tactical decision.”