Bournemouth boss O’Neil: I’m gutted for everyone connected to the club

Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil admits his players were left floored after their Arsenal defeat.

Phil Billing’s strike after nine seconds gave Cherries a dream start in north London, before Marcos Senesi doubled the lead shortly after the restart.

Goals from Thomas Partey and Ben White restored parity, before substitute Reiss Nelson popped up in injury time to volley home and make it 3-2.

Cherries spent large swathes off the game camped in their own box in an attempt to leave the Emirates with something to show for their efforts, but came up just short according to Cherries’ head coach.

Asked how he was feeling after the final whistle, O’Neil told the Daily Echo: “Bitterly disappointed at this moment, as are the players, as I’m sure are the supporters.

“To put in that much work and effort and to push the team that are five points clear at the top of the league at their stadium that close, was a huge, huge effort from everybody.

“So, yeah, most teams that come here get dispatched fairly easily and we didn’t.

“We put up a real good fight.

“Gutted for the players and everyone connected with the club, that we suffer a late blow.”

Asked if the early opener impacted his side’s gameplan, O’Neil responded: “The game plan was the same.

“Arsenal are the best team in the league. They’re five points clear.

“We knew we needed to be solid, we knew they’d dominate the ball, we knew we’d need to defend.

“Obviously the kickoff routine that we worked, you don’t expect to score from, but thought we could catch them with, we did.

“Probably puts Arsenal on the front foot a little bit more, but to be 2-0 up at the Emirates and to create some opportunities on the counter and defend our goal the way we did, took a big, big effort from everyone.”

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