Monaco 0 Arsenal 2: Leonardo Jardim criticises Arsene Wenger for lack of respect to his former club

Monaco prevail on away goals after Arsenal score twice but miss out on crucial third

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The Independent Football

Monaco’s coach Leonardo Jardim criticised Arsene Wenger for what he regarded as the Frenchman’s lack of respect towards his old club in the first leg in London, on the night that Arsenal tumbled out the Champions League for the fifth consecutive season at the last-16 stage.

Jardim joined his celebrating players on the pitch rather than offer a handshake to Wenger – a response, the Venezuelan-born Portuguese coach said, to the Arsenal’s manager’s failure to acknowledge him post-match in London. Arsenal won 2-0 on the night to level the aggregate score at 3-3, but failed to score the third goal that would have prevented Monaco progressing on away goals.

Jardim said: “In the first leg when I wanted to thank Arsene and shake his hand and it’s true that Arsene didn’t shake my hand. So even though Monaco did everything to make life comfortable for Arsenal tonight I decided not to thank him.

“Arsenal were really happy to play Monaco as we were supposed to be one of the weakest teams. We qualified from pot four. All the teams in the last 16 wanted to play against Monaco. Maybe Arsenal thought they had qualified already.

 

“I put a lot of value on what my players did tonight. We were not expected to reach the quarter-finals so we should give all was credit to the players. They made this possible. I think it was disrespectful [of Wenger not to shake his hand after the first leg]. Right now we’re celebrating and we think Arsenal did not show enough respect during the first leg.”

Wenger said that elimination to Monaco was his most disappointing of the last five years, with the previous four coming against Bayern Munich (twice), Milan and Barcelona. “Yes, I would take it separately from the other years,” he said. “I am very disappointed to go out tonight of course, but there are lots of positive in the game. The overall situation is disappointing. If you just look at the game tonight, it is positive for us.”

Wenger added: “Football is not a fairy-tale, it is a matter of being realistic and being clinical, maybe a bit lucky as well, maybe that is part of the game. If you go out after the group stages, you have no chances after to play again [at this level], like you do in the Europa League.”

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A distraught Mesut Ozil reacts after the final whistle

Wenger said that Arsenal could not afford to lose momentum from the “positive trend” of a five-game winning streak as they approach Saturday’s league game away to Newcastle. “It is very, very important because we want to win the next game,” Wenger said. “If you look at the numbers, we had a 98% chance to be out [against Monaco], but we did fight and produce the game we wanted.

“I felt that some players were a bit jaded offensively because we have  given a  lot on Saturday and in the second half lacked a bit of freshness to finish the game off.”

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