Wenger stays positive after enduring video nasty

Wenger watched the Monaco game back on Thursday and said it was difficult to see his team play so poorly

Arsène Wenger has revealed how “hard” it was to watch the video of Arsenal’s disastrous Champions League defeat to Monaco as he tries to focus his much-criticised players on tomorrow’s Premier League game at home to Everton.

Wednesday night was one of Arsenal’s worst in recent years, losing a home game  3-1 against injury-hit opposition, almost ending their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. Wenger said at his press conference yesterday morning that Arsenal should not be “ruled out too quickly”, but before the difficult second leg in Monaco, they have three league games and an FA Cup quarter-final.

Wenger watched the Monaco game back on Thursday and said it was difficult to see his team play so poorly. “It is always hard, hard to see that you make mistakes,” said Wenger, who viewed the tape by himself before he showed it to the players.

 

His mood on Wednesday had been less moderate, describing the team’s defending as “suicidal”. Yesterday Wenger insisted he “maintains exactly what I said”, before going on to describe Arsenal’s failures in more detail.

“I think we were too impatient, more than about not performing collectively,” Wenger said. “We lost our game slowly during the game because we were shocked that we were 1-0 down after we rushed our game. We lost our discipline and everybody became too individual. Then we lost our game a little bit.

“You were all shocked because you thought Monaco was not a good team. I knew the difficulty of the game and I was not surprised. And I said that before the game. The physical intensity of Monaco is very strong and no big team in France has beaten them until now.” There was no guarantee those problems would not be repeated. “We are all human beings,” Wenger said. “We were born without any guarantee that we would not make mistakes.”

If Premier League form can be isolated, though, Arsenal have won seven of their last nine games in that competition. They will be without Jack Wilshere tomorrow after the England midfielder had a minor procedure on his left ankle to remove the studs from two pins which were causing some discomfort. Victory tomorrow afternoon would strengthen Arsenal’s grip on third place in the table, and Wenger wants his players to focus on that.

“I can talk a lot, but what is important now is to look forward,” he said. “Instead of worrying about yesterday I prefer to look towards tomorrow. It is important for us to focus on what is in front of us. The season does not stop. We have seen big teams before have disappointments. Manchester United have gone out in big seasons and still won the Championship after. It is how you respond.”

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