Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was in reflective mood following his side's 3-1 defeat to Olympiacos in the Champions League.
The Gunners made a handful of changes to the side which beat Wigan so emphatically at the weekend, with fringe players given their European chance in Greece as qualification from Group F was already assured.
That Wenger still wanted to win is a measure of the Frenchman's style, but he was forced to admit that the better side won on the night as his young Gunners were slow to start at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
"They were 2-0 up because they were sharper than we were. We came back to 2-1 and it looked more like we could level, but they scored the third goal," Wenger told the official Arsenal website post-match.
"We had the early chances but Olympiacos played a very committed game. They made it a good battle and we lost too many balls in the first half especially.
"I thought overall Olympiacos deserved to win the game but, unfortunately for them, it’s not enough because they will not qualify. They paid a heavy price for not starting the championship before their first game."
Wenger was left unimpressed by some of his players in a number of areas on the pitch, admitting particular frustration with an inability to win challenges and look solid defensively.
However, the boss is hopeful young players can learn from the intimidating experience, which should bode well for the Emirates Stadium outfit in future fixtures both this season and beyond.
"I am annoyed because we lost the game. It’s difficult to single out (individuals) – I feel offensively and defensively we were not convincing. We lost many challenges," he concluded.
"You could feel there was more at stake for Olympiacos than us. I think that made us insecure defensively. We lost many balls in position where we are not used to.
"It’s a fantastic experience (for the young players). They’ll realise what kind of intensity you need at that level. I still think, in patches, some young players have shown good things but, as a team, we missed a bit of maturity to keep the ball when we were under pressure."
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