Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang appeared close to tears as he left the Emirates pitch on Thursday night, having been inches from keeping Arsenal’s Europa League dream alive.
The striker, who had scored a wonderful goal in stoppage time against Olympiakos, then uncharacteristically missed a sitter.
“I feel very bad but that can happen,” he told BT Sport afterwards.
“I don’t know how I missed this chance. I was tired, had some cramps, but it’s not an excuse. I have to score, but it can happen,” adding the club will focus on their league results to try and give supporters European football again next season.
Aubameyang’s goal extra-time goal in the second leg match had put Arsenal 2-1 up on aggregate and it appeared the Premier League side were heading into the last 16.
Olympiakos then hit back when Youssef El Arabi scored to give the visitors a 2-1 lead and make it 2-2 on aggregate, putting them on course to advance via away goals.
However, with seconds left and Arsenal on the attack, the ball fell into Aubameyang’s path six yards out but he put it wide.
Arsenal were among six big teams to exit the competition at the last 32 stage, with Ajax, Celtic, Sporting Lisbon, Benfica and Porto joining them.
The Gunners now face the prospect of no European football at all next term and manager Mikel Arteta said it hurts as they had high hopes for the Europa League.
Arsenal are currently ninth and asked about the difficulty of finishing in the top four of the Premier League, he said: “[It is] very hard because looking at the table we’re still far from the objectives that we all have, but we’ve been far all season from it and we have to keep fighting.
“The most important thing now is that the dressing room has to be strong and we have to keep going and react.
“First of all, I have to convince them about what happened in the game and why they are not through in the tie.
“If they continue to do that, there will be rewards like we have done in the last 10 games that we played.”
Arteta also knows he has a battle on his hands to keep hold of Aubameyang, whose contract expires in 2021.
The club face the prospect of having to sell the striker in the summer if he does not sign a new deal.
He has only been playing football in England since January 2018, but Sky Sports analyst Gary Neville feels he deserves to labelled a Premier League great.