Arsene Wenger: 'We lost our nerves and our rationality' says manager after Arsenal 1 Monaco 3

The Gunners had been heavily favoured to progress to the quarter-finals - but not any more

Arsene Wenger said his team lost their heads in losing to Monaco in the first-leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie at the Emirates. A 3-1 defeat left Arsenal with, said Wenger, an ‘extremely difficult task’ but they would ‘go for it’ in the second leg on March 17.

“It looks like we have lost our nerves and our rationality on the pitch,” he said. “The heart took over the head. Mentally we were not sharp enough to get into the game and we paid for it.

Wenger said the first goal, which was deflected, was ‘unlucky’, though he criticised the body shape of Per Mertesacker, off whom Geoffrey Kondogbia’s shot flew in. But he added: “You look at the second and third goals [both scored on the counter-attack], it is difficult to explain. We rushed our game. We were too impatient. This is a game of 180 minutes.” 

Wenger added: “We missed chances. We were not at our best defensively. The balance was not right. When we lost the ball we were exposed.”

 

This looked, on paper, a good draw for Arsenal after facing Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Milan at this stage in recent years but he said, “Football is not down to paper, it is down to performance.”

Wenger, who said he hoped his side were not complacent, but it was possible, concluded: “Our task is extremely difficult in the second leg, but no matter how small the chance we will go for it.”

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