International

Wenger: We paid for our mistakes

2018-01-08 08:55
Arsene Wenger (Twitter)

Cape Town - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expressed his disappointment with the mistakes made by his team in an early FA Cup exit at Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

The record holders crashed out of the competition in the third round for the first time under Wenger following a surprise 4-2 defeat at the City Ground.

A first-half brace from Eric Lichaj saw the hosts take a 2-1 lead into the break, with Per Mertesacker having responded for Wenger's side midway through the first half.

But the 2017 champions struggled to cope with Ben Brereton, who extended the Reds' lead from the spot after Rob Holding conceded the first of two penalties - the second one given against Mathieu Debuchy late on and controversially converted by Kieran Dowell.

Danny Welbeck had earlier reduced the deficit for the Premier League giants, but Wenger paid tribute to the managerless Championship club, who sacked Mark Warburton last week after a poor run of results, saying they fully deserved a place in the fourth round.

"I knew before coming here, it would be a tricky place to go," the Frenchman said after the match, which he watched from the stands due to a touchline ban.

"You know when you come back it was important not to make a mistake again - that's why it's disappointing because during the game, we repeated the same mistakes and that's where we were guilty today. Once, twice, three times, and at that level, you cannot afford that.

"We were not good enough anywhere, not at the front, not in the middle, not at the back, and we paid for it. They looked sharper, had more chances, and that's all I can say. They had an outstanding performance and I couldn't fault any of their individual performances.

"Overall you can congratulate Nottingham Forest for an outstanding performance - sharp, winning decisive challenges, always dangerous going forward and overall they deserved the win today. Simple as that."

Wenger also defended his team selection on the day having made nine changes from the 2-2 draw with Chelsea in midweek.

"We had a very difficult schedule, many players were on the edge and we play again on Wednesday [against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup], it was nearly impossible not to make it [changes]," he said.

"I can understand the selection is questioned but it would be an easy excuse, because we have eight or nine experienced international players on the pitch so we played with respect against a Championship side. That would be the wrong excuse.

"It's disappointing we lost, that's all I can say. Some days you have to say Nottingham Forest were better than us and that was the case. We have a big game on Wednesday so we have to focus on that now."

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