‘Arsenal punished for Emirates defeat’, admits Wenger following Champions League exit.



Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accepted his side were left to pay a heavy price for their dismal first leg performance as the Gunners crashed out of the Champions League last 16.

The Premier League outfit battled to a admirable 2-0 victory at Monaco on Tuesday night, but exited the competition on away goals following their previous 3-1 loss at the Emirates Stadium.

It was always going to be a mountain to climb for Arsenal as they attempted to produce a ‘miracle in Monaco’ and overturn a two goal deficit, which no team has ever done in Champions League history in a two-legged tie.

Olivier Giroud's first-half effort and Aaron Ramsey's goal on 79 minutes set up a grandstand finale, but the valiant Gunners just fell short and were punished for third goal conceded late in the first leg which came moments after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain grabbed what should have been a lifeline.

And Wenger accepted Arsenal had just left themselves too much to do after their "suicidal" defending in London.

"I felt the performance was enough tonight, but it was a very difficult task," said the boss.

"If you look at the numbers, we had a 98 per cent chance to be out, but we did fight and produce the game we wanted.

"At half-time, the game could have been over with the chances we created, overall we pay [for the fact] that in the first game we did not produce the performance we wanted.

"Monaco played at home, have zero shots on target and yet go to the quarter-final."

Wenger added: "Football is not a fairytale, it is a matter of being realistic and being clinical, maybe a bit lucky as well, maybe that is part of the game.

"If you take a look at the shots on target in the two games, they were well rewarded, and were very clinical.

"They really surprised us in the first leg when we were too sure of ourselves on the night."

Despite their European disappointments, Wenger insists all is not yet lost for Arsenal, who will face Reading in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and could yet have a late say in the Premier League title race.

"I am realistic enough to know every season is different. Judge our season at the end of the season," said Wenger, the former Monaco boss on his first return to the club he led to the French title in 1988.

"Tonight I don't believe we had a disappointing performance, it was a positive performance and you can take that into the end of the season."

Source: talkSPORT


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