Arsenal's Old Trafford drubbing was my fault – not the team's, admits Arsène Wenger

The Arsenal manager says his ‘attacking philosophy’ led to embarrassing defeat

Arsène Wenger insists last year's 8-2 defeat at Manchester United was the fault of his own approach, as Arsenal return to Old Trafford for the first time today.

The defeat, the heaviest of Wenger's tenure, was one of the lowest moments of a dreadful 2011 for Arsenal. But Wenger says the unprecedented scoreline was not the players' fault, but rather down to his own attacking instincts.

"First of all, with 20 minutes to go, it was 4-1," Wenger recalled. "And I decided to go for an offensive, to try to come back with 10 men and we were already dead.

"Of course, after that we paid for it so maybe I should have done 'OK, let's keep it tight and go out with 4-1 and say 'Thank you very much, see you next week.'' But we wanted absolutely to give ourselves a chance to come back and maybe we shouldn't have done that."

Wenger, who admitted he was a victim of his own nature, said that he would still trust his teams to win games, even if he made the wrong decision last August.

"I am still always an optimist," he said. "They say a pessimist is a well-informed optimist. On the day I was badly informed. I always had hope. I always hope that my team will create something special – even on the day."

Attacking football is part of the make-up at Arsenal and Wenger insists it is too ingrained to change.

"I want to do what gives us the best chance to win games," the manager said. "It is as well when you make teams that you cannot go against nature. You cannot play with [Jack] Wilshere, [Santi] Cazorla and [Mikel] Arteta and say, 'Look, we only defend'. They would say, 'What are we doing on the football pitch then?'

"Somewhere your style is dictated by the players you pick. You're right, sometimes when you don't win, first you have to maybe sometimes in the game learn not to lose before you can win a game. So you give a bit more security to the team and I have done that as well. But still our basic philosophy is to go forward and attack."

Dramatic as the scoreline was, Wenger said it was not his worst moment in football. "It was not the best, that is for sure, but it is not the worst for sure," he explained.

"The worst is when you lose the Champions League final in the last minute of a game and that has real meaning. There is purely an emotional aspect in the 8-2 but there is no mathematical consequence.

"We lost a game, that is all. Honestly, it didn't affect us," Wenger insisted. "I don't feel it affected us. It affected maybe more our environment. It affects you because you feel humiliated after the game but after that, the next game when you win, you don't focus on that. I think it's when you lose a big game like that in the way we did, it is to get over the hurdle in the next three weeks.

"Once you've got over that, the mood in the camp is always a consequence of the last result."

Wenger admitted it had been embarrassing but not indicative of any desperate failings in the team.

"Of course, as you want your fans to be proud and happy, and you know that they will be hurt deeply," he said. "I said before there is an emotional aspect after a defeat like that. The football aspect as a manager has no real meaning. The emotional aspect, yes."

Manchester blues: Gunners' bad memories

* Arsenal return to Old Trafford for the first time since last August's 8-2 thrashing, when Manchester United overwhelmed their weakened visitors.

How the goals flew in:

1-0 Man United Danny Welbeck (22 min)

2-0 Ashley Young (28)

3-0 Wayne Rooney (41)

3-1 Theo Walcott (45)

4-1 Rooney (64)

5-1 Nani (67)

6-1 Park Ji-sung (70)

6-2 Robin van Persie (74)

7-2 Rooney (penalty, 82)

8-2 Young (90)

Suggested Topics
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
Sport
Vincenzo Nibali rides into Paris on the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France
Tour de FranceVincenzo Nibali is first Italian winner since Marco Pantani in 1998
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Sport
Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo (C) celebrates with Scuderia Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso (L) and Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton
sport
Arts and Entertainment
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmComedy was dominated by the romcom at its most insufferable
Sport
Tour de France competitor Bartosz Huzarski’s legs have highlighted the gruelling nature of the race, after he posted a picture on Facebook showing extremely prominent veins stretching from his feet and all the way up his legs
Commonwealth Games
Life and Style
Elle Kaye demonstrates the art of taxidermy
food + drinkFood revolution taken a step further in new ‘edible taxidermy’ class
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
Halsall broke her personal best in the 50m butterfly
Commonwealth GamesEnglish swimmer is reborn after disastrous time at London 2012
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Voices
The Express offices in the 1930s when writers (such as Orwell) were paid around £2 weekly
voicesWebsites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
A cut above: Katy Guest at The Ginger Pig
food + drinkThe Ginger Pig's hands-on approach to primary cuts
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried