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Lukas Podolski told UEFA.com he saw room for improvement despite Arsenal FC getting their UEFA Champions League Group B campaign off to a positive start at Montpellier Hérault SC, with the home side drawing some positives from their 2-1 defeat.
Lukas Podolski, Arsenal forward
I think we played well in the first half. In the second half, we weren't as good as we didn't do enough up front.
We have to improve on that, but for a first game in the Champions League, it's good to have picked up the three points. The fans really supported us well, helped us get back into it. We took control in the first half, and should have made it 3-1.
Montpellier played well in the second half, and we didn't impose ourselves going forward. We must improve. But we picked up the points – it's always difficult away from home and we're happy we did it. Everything's going well for me at the moment, and I'm happy to be able to help the team. But the team has also taken me in well, I feel great here, and I hope it continues like that.
Per Mertesacker, Arsenal defender
It's a decent result for us. Especially in the second half, we suffered a bit and had a lot of problems. We were lucky, but got the win and we're very happy. It was a hard game, we expected that, and in the second half it was even harder than we had expected. Our response after the penalty was very good. We came back in a way that we've already done this season. We have self-confidence, we know we can bounce back from disappointments.
It seemed like Montpellier didn't have anything to lose, particularly in the second half. Technically they were very good and passed the ball well. Sometimes you have to be clever, stay focused, and try to stay calm in your half of the pitch. That's what we did. They deserved to get more from the game though.
Hilton, Montpellier defender
The disappointment is all the greater because of how we played in the second half, we deserved a draw. We saw in the first half what a good side Arsenal are, as they scored twice after going behind early on. They showed that they have that little something extra. Perhaps we took our foot off the gas a bit after we scored. We didn't expect to score as quickly as that. Younés Belhanda's penalty was extraordinary, but they then took advantage when we switched off.
Even though we created chances in the second half, we didn't manage to put them away. That's what top-level football is about. Arsenal took their chances. However, we showed that we deserve to be in this competition, that it wasn't just luck that got us here. Even though we've lost against Arsenal, we have to keep our heads up. If we continue playing like we did today, we can hope to qualify from the group.
Rémi Cabella, Montpellier midfielder
We're disappointed with the defeat, but we're satisfied with the quality of football we produced. We have to keep working on that. We started well but then slackened off a little, which is one of our faults. At half-time, we got something of a dressing-down, which was normal, and we started the second half well. Even though we didn't get the draw, which would have done us a lot of good, we looked like the team we are.
At the break, the coach told us to play with the aggression we showed last season – that's what we did. We showed that we could match them in terms of quality, and perhaps even surpass them, even if we didn't score a second goal. Everyone thought we'd get a hiding, but we showed we have character. We're not finished, and we'll show that again next time too.