Arsene's Angst: Why Wenger still can't believe Gunners have missed out
PUBLISHED: 13:27 01 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:16 22 July 2010
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ARSENE WENGER has admitted that he is still struggling to come to terms with the fact that Arsenal will end the season empty-handed. The Gunners boss has had plenty of time to mull over the double disappointment of missing out on the Champions League and
ARSENE WENGER has admitted that he is still struggling to come to terms with the fact that Arsenal will end the season empty-handed.
The Gunners boss has had plenty of time to mull over the double disappointment of missing out on the Champions League and Premier League - but still can't believe that it has happened.
"I am not coming to terms with it well," Wenger told the Gazette this week. "We were very, very close to winning something.
"Last season we were not in the race and I could not have said that this time last year - but if we had won at Old Trafford [on April 13] like we should have done then we still could have been champions.
"The competition is so high - we lost three games since the start of the season, and yet we are not competing for the title with four games to go.
"In two of the three we have lost, we were leading - it was unbelievable, we were 1-0 up at Chelsea, 1-0 up at Liverpool in the Champions League and 1-0 up at Old Trafford and we lost all those games.
"Look at how we lost those games, it is not because teams have outplayed us, it is because of long balls, a penalty at Liverpool, a penalty at Old Trafford.
"I think we lacked a little bit of experience when the pressure was on, and a little bit of maturity. Of course that comes with experience, and with bad experiences," added Wenger who revealed he had also questioned himself after what he called his "most disappointing" season at the club.
"The first thing I do is look at myself - I think I worked harder than ever this year. Do I have the fire and desire? I don't question that because I know that is there.
"I sacrificed my whole year for that, and what is hard to swallow is that you work as hard as I did and you finish empty-handed.
"I am not pretentious enough to say I did not make any mistakes, but I led this team to as close as possible without winning something, but this is a championship where you can be a very good team and not win it.
And Wenger added that while he didn't feel some poor decisions by referees were the only factor in his team's demise, they did have a big impact.
"I don't want to say referees cost us trophies - we were under pressure suddenly and on top of that we had to deal with some decisions going against us, that can happen to any team.
"That increased the pressure and could we have won the title or the Champions League even without those decisions? Yes we could have.
"So I do not say we have not won because of the referees - we have to look at ourselves and to be strong enough to deal with the decisions. Maybe next year they will all go for us and we won't need [to be strong], but despite these decisions we could have won something.