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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there