Friday 24 November 2017

Van Persie: injuries no excuse for rout

Captain Robin van Persie said Arsenal cannot blame injuries for their 8-2 capitulation against Manchester United.

Mark Ogden

A threadbare squad missing eight first-team players was overwhelmed by Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Wayne Rooney scoring a hat-trick.

And Van Persie said: "I don't think we can hide behind injuries or suspensions. It is no excuse. They had injuries too, this is football. This was the strongest team we had today. We gave our maximum but it was clearly not good enough."

Van Persie, made Arsenal captain following Cesc Fabregas's departure, has been among the club's most disappointing performers this season and it remains to be seen whether he and manager Arsene Wenger can rally the side.

Wenger is close to sealing the £10million signing South Korean forward Park Chu-Young, but insists there will be no panic buys before Wednesday's transfer window.

“If we find the right players, we will sign them,” Wenger said. “We have the money. If we find players who can strengthen our team, we will do it, but we have 20 people working on it and if we do not do it, it’s because we cannot find them. It’s difficult to find excuses after a game like that, but wages-wise, of course we are behind the other teams.”

Many of Arsenal's players will now join their national sides and Wenger said: "Maybe that is a good thing. When they come back we'll have to prepare. Big scores are humiliating and difficult to swallow but I don't think they have a special meaning. They are always under special circumstances."

"I can only apologise for the score," Wenger added. "It hurts very much.

"The fans were great and I feel sorry for them. They do not want to see their team like that. We can only apologise and come back in our strength and desire in the next game."

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