Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has claimed that Sunday’s cup final defeat was direct reason for our dismal opening interval against Manchester City.
The Gunners succumbed to a distressing 3-0 loss at the Emirates Stadium, while many fans didn’t even make it to the match.
Our side has enjoyed a very impressive season in front of our home crowd, with much of our disappointments coming on the road, but with the adverse weather conditions and warnings, a large number of supporters will not have been able to make the trip, and we therefore ended up playing out the match in front of a minimal size crowd.
Manager Wenger is refusing to blame the support, or lack thereof, and claims that morale could well have played a huge part in the end result.
“I knew the first half could be difficult for us because we come out of Sunday’s game with a low confidence level, they come back with a very positive mind,” Wenger told a news conference. “That’s why they took advantage of every defensive weakness we showed in the first half.
“At the end of the day, I must say we lost against a top-quality team who are at the moment the best team in the country.
“A combination of their quality and the fact that they are high on confidence and we are low in confidence played a big part in the game tonight.
“We focus on performances and when the pressure is on like this you have to show that strong organisation and unite, not divide,” Wenger told Sky Sports. “You have to stay together, focus and work even harder to get the confidence back.”
The Frenchman then moved to rue the missed opportunity to get back into the match-up, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failing to beat Ederson from the penalty spot, and insists the result was destined from then onwards.
“We needed the penalty to get going and gain a bit of momentum,” Wenger said. “That was the killer, basically, of the game, after that.”
The 68 year-old added that the fans were right to feel disgruntled following the painful result, and insists that there should be disappointment.
“Do you want the fans to be happy when you’re 3-0 down? I’m surprised that you’re surprised,” Wenger said about the crowd reaction.
About the low attendance, he added: “It was a combination certainly of the weather conditions and the fact that we had a big disappointment on Sunday. It was a combination of the two things together.”
Is Wenger wrong to defend his players? Did the Frenchman fail to fire up his boys to seek revenge?