Wenger keeping loss in perspective
Published 24/03/2014 | 16:52
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has vowed his side can quickly recover from the "accident" of being thrashed 6-0 at Barclays Premier League title rivals Chelsea as they look to go "back to basics" against Swansea on Tuesday.
The Gunners boss remains at a loss to explain just why his men imploded on Saturday lunchtime at Stamford Bridge in what turned out to be a nightmare 1,000th match in charge for the Frenchman.
It was not only Arsenal's pride which took a massive hit - m idfielder Mikel Arteta issuing a public apology on behalf of the players for the ''unacceptable'' and ''embarrassing'' capitulation - but they are also now down in fourth place, although could be back within four points of the leaders come full-time on Tuesday.
Wenger, who cancelled Monday morning's scheduled pre-match press conference, knows if his men are to stand any chance of salvaging what has largely been a promising campaign, then they must not lose focus again.
Speaking to the in-house Arsenal Media channel, Wenger said: "You need to analyse as well the fact that we were down to 10 men and the offensive quality of Chelsea on the counter-attack is very good. You have to put that into perspective.
"We just came out of two convincing results at Bayern Munich and at Tottenham with a very solid defensive performance, so you have to think that was an accident. How do you deal with the accident? You repair them, you repair the damage and you go for the next one.
"Of course (it is) back to basics. An accident has happened - that doesn't mean that you are not a good driver. It just means that we have played about 40 games this season and it's not what happened on Saturday that reflects the quality of this team.
"We have 62 points that we earned hard with quality games and that is what we want to focus on - to get back to that quality.
"The response has always been very strong and I am convinced it will be again (on Tuesday)."
Wenger, whose side are in the FA Cup semi-finals, maintains his current Arsenal squad have the desire to succeed and called on everyone at the club to provide a united front.
"You cannot fault this team for not wanting to do well. If we missed a game on Saturday I believe that (still) over the season we played difficult (FA) Cup games, we had difficult games in the Champions League, (and) this team has turned up with complete focus," Wenger said.
"This team is an absolute credit to the club with their attitude. They deserve success and therefore I hope that our crowd will be behind our team (on Tuesday).
"The season is always decided by how well you finish, so at the most important moment of the season it is vital that we stick together."
Wenger indicated there would "some refreshment" in the Arsenal squad, which will be without defender Laurent Koscielny because of a calf injury, and so 19-year-old Spaniard Hector Bellerin, who was on loan at Watford, has been drafted in as cover.
Arsenal will have both defender Kieran Gibbs and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain available against Swansea.
The Football Association on Monday night dismissed Gibbs' red card against Chelsea, given in a case of mistaken identity by referee Andre Marriner, and instead transferred the one-match suspension to Oxlade-Chamberlain - who had committed the handball in the six-yard box and indeed admitted his guilt at the time, but was waved away.
Arsenal then moved to have that offence downgraded on appeal, claiming the England midfielder had not in fact technically prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity as the shot from Chelsea's Eden Hazard looked to be going just wide. That claim was also upheld.
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