Champions League

Wenger slams 'suicidal' goals

2015-02-26 08:29
Arsene Wenger (arsenal.com)

London - Arsene Wenger slammed his Arsenal flops as naive and suicidal after their defensive meltdown allowed Monaco to clinch a stunning 3-1 win in the Champions League last 16 first leg.

Wenger's side were widely expected to see off the French club and advance to the quarter-finals of Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 2010.

In the heat of an immediate post-match press conference, Wenger is usually composed enough to deflect questions that ask him to criticise his players.

But after one of the most chastening defeats of his 19-year Arsenal reign - at the hands of the club where he made his managerial reputation - the 65-year-old was unable to conceal his frustration.

Taking aim at the careless play of Arsenal's defenders and the needlessly gung-ho attitude of the rest of the team, he said: "It was a horrible night. We missed chances and were a bit suicidal defensively.

"Their first goal was unlucky with the deflection but the second and third were suicidal. We cannot give away the third goal like we did.

"The balance wasn't right and when we lost the ball we were exposed. I was most disappointed by our defensive naivety.

"It looks like we lost our nerves and our rationality. The heart took over the head and at this level that doesn't work.

"Mentally we weren't sharp enough to get into this game and we paid for it."

After getting their domestic form back on track in recent weeks, this was a return to the kind of mentally fragile and defensively sloppy display that has so often ruined Arsenal's hopes in Europe in the Wenger era.

And Wenger suggested his players may have taken victory for granted.

"I hope we weren't complacent, but it looks when you have no sharpness that anything is possible," he said.

"We rushed our game. The difference was the mentality, we were too impatient because this is a game of 180 minutes."

Arsenal now need a three-goal victory to complete a miraculous escape in the return at the Stade Louis II.

But Monaco haven't conceded three goals at home in any match this season and no team has lost a Champions League first-leg knockout tie at home by two goals and progressed to the next round since Ajax in 1969.

"The task is massive now. The third goal makes it even more difficult," Wenger said.

"We have a much smaller chance but no matter how big the size is we will go for it."

Read more on:    arsenal  |  champions league  |  arsene wenger  |  soccer
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