Wenger: 'I am disappointed, I don't want to hide reality'

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The Independent Online

Arsene Wenger last night admitted that he does not know why Arsenal are serial under-achievers in the Champions' League. "That we are not good enough to win the European Cup, I cannot say that is not true," the Arsenal manager said after his side were knocked out by Bayern Munich.

Arsene Wenger last night admitted that he does not know why Arsenal are serial under-achievers in the Champions' League. "That we are not good enough to win the European Cup, I cannot say that is not true," the Arsenal manager said after his side were knocked out by Bayern Munich.

"It is very difficult to analyse as we have only just lost the game," he added. "I'm not in a position to criticise my players as everyone has performed considerably. I just want to compliment them."

Wenger claimed that Bayern were "the best side we have played for a long time". He added there were fewer "regrets" than with last season's exit "because [then] we lost to Chelsea and they were not better than us". However he added of last night's disappointments "I don't want to hide reality".

The Frenchman said that it was too early to talk about having to rebuild his team. "When you speak to the media there is always a drama," he said. "Life is not like that. I'm not sitting here to come out every season and not win trophies. For me that is always a big disappointment.

"Imagine that we are not the only team in Europe who fights to win the European Cup. At this club it has never been done and we fought against a team who have won it four or fives times."

He said he believed there was "no secret" to winning the competition. "In Europe there are bigger clubs than us," Wenger said. "Barcelona is 120 years old and they have won it only once."

His players, he added, had given "absolutely everything and there were many positive points". The damage, Wenger said, had been done in the first leg. "The way they got the goals in the first leg killed us," he claimed. "Over two legs you cannot say that we deserved to go through."

The Bayern coach Felix Magath said that he had deliberately set out with an attacking line-up because Arsenal "have problems in defence and we wanted to play on that".

"I never thought that we wouldn't win," Magath said. "Even when it was clear that [our injured top scorer] Roy Makaay would not be playing.

"We are far too strong anyway. We have shown in the last few games that we are very solid in defence and I was sure we could do it."

"They slowly took over," Wenger said. "We scored at the right moment but we never got in there and got the chance to score the second goal. It was in the away leg that we lost the tie." In truth, they never looked like winning.

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