Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal did not show enough fighting spirit during their 3-1 defeat to Stoke.
The Gunners arrived at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday knowing that three points would edge them closer to automatic qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League group stage, and keep their faint title hopes alive.
They never looked like delivering on either front, though, as the Potters gave a demonstration in how to expose Arsenal's weaknesses.
Wenger's men saw plenty of the ball, but they lacked a cutting edge and were undone by Stoke's desire to compete for everything and snatch a morale-boosting success.
Asked if his side had been competitive enough, Wenger told Sky Sports: "No, certainly not. On that front, we were not at the right level, certainly not in the first half.
"It is always difficult to say why, but it is a fact.
"You are never happy when you are not competitive enough."
The French tactician was happy to acknowledge that the Gunners were second best on the day, with defensive fragility once again costing them dear.
Wenger added: "Congratulations to them. We made too many mistakes to win a game like that. They defended well and it was always difficult for us."