Sunday 19 January 2020

'It's not about lacking leaders' insists Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Tony O'Brien/Action Images via Reuters
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Tony O'Brien/Action Images via Reuters newsdesk

Arsene Wenger admitted the title dream is over and his Arsenal side is now in the thick of a battle to qualify for next season's Champions League after they dropped two points at home to Crystal Palace.

"We are very, very disappointed," Wenger said. "It is not pleasant. We had 70pc of the ball but didn't do enough with it. We didn't play with enough freedom and got caught with a rare shot on goal from Palace. They defended deep and well and hit us on the break. It is very frustrating.

"I am not in the mood to dream about the championship," Wenger added. "I am in the mood to repair the mental damage and prepare for the next game. Everyone behind us is playing well and winning games. Our fight now is to be in the top four."

Wenger denied that the defeat was due to a lack of leaders - an oft-used charge against this Arsenal team. "Today is not about leadership," Wenger said. "It was about scoring the second goal and stopping their goal. That is the regret of the day. They have players who can take advantage on the counter-attack. But they didn't come out - even at 1-0.

"Usually we create a lot of chances but not today - despite the possession. We didn't play with enough pace. We lacked sharpness, some confidence in our head after the result at West Ham. You have to sometimes win 1-0 and today was one of those days.

"We need to stick together and do our best until the end of the season."

Petr Cech, back in the side for David Ospina, was untroubled all afternoon only to let Yannick Bolasie's strike creep inside his near post. "We should have seen the game off," said Cech. "This is two dropped points. They managed to get a counter-attack and hit it on the floor, the ball skidded fast, I got a bit of a touch.

"We need to win all the remaining games and we will see what will be the outcome of it."

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