Wenger "Ive made some errors which have cost us the title"

From the News of the World

ARSENE WENGER today admits making mistakes which have cost Arsenal the title.

The most successful manager in the club’s history has suffered some savage criticism from angry fans this season as the Gunners’ bid to end a four-year wait for silverware threatened to implode.

Wenger’s under-fire youngsters were even in danger of finishing outside the top four for the first time in his 12-year reign.

But now Arsenal have an FA Cup semi-final date with Chelsea at Wembley next Saturday, while a 0-0 draw against Villarreal at the Emirates on Wednesday will guarantee their place in the last four of the Champions League.

However, Wenger confesses he under- estimated the damaging effects of last season, when his kids blew the title and then had a summer of transfer turmoil.

And in an emotional interview the Frenchman insists:

* He is a prisoner to his own transfer policy;

* Emmanuel Adebayor’s threat to walk out destabilised the players;

* He never expected Mathieu Flamini would quit the club for AC Milan;

* Buying Gareth Barry or Xabi Alonso last summer would have “killed” his youngsters.

Wenger declared: “It wasn’t so much in my choice of teams that I made errors. I have been doing that for 35 years now and, even if I am not invulnerable, I do know what I am doing.

“But I did make a mistake in perhaps underestimating the harmful effects of last season, especially the loss of the title. I asked myself a lot of questions during the close season about the influence losing the title in the last two months might cause.”

Arsenal’s end-of-season collapse began after a 2-2 draw at Birmingham, in which they lost striker Eduardo to a sickening broken leg, conceded a needless penalty in the last minute and then witnessed skipper William Gallas’s incredible sit-down pitch sulk.
Crumble

Then followed midfielder Alexander Hleb’s move to Barcelona, striker Adebayor’s threat to join him if he didn’t get a substantial wage rise, Flamini’s transfer to Milan after refusing a new contract and Tomas Rosicky’s injury problems.

Wenger added: “And we lost Hleb, Flamini and Rosicky. There was a midfield for me to rebuild. Should I have anticipated Flamini’s departure? I couldn’t because I really didn’t think he was going to leave.

“The Adebayor business: ‘I’m going, I’m staying, I’m going, I’m staying’ was also an important factor. One thing followed another. Earlier this season, our game wasn’t there. Even the people who love Arsenal were saying: ‘This is a disaster.’

“You wonder why, with the same players, our game could crumble so much. The staff and I wondered whether we had made mistakes, if the training was being done badly.

“The most worrying match was our 3-0 defeat at Manchester City in November. That was one loss too many. We hit the bottom.But, just after that, we won 2-1 at Chelsea and I thought my team were not ready to totally go under.

“The barometer is confidence and when that seizes up . . . now we are unbeaten for 18 Premier League matches and that leaves with me with a lot of regrets.”
Tough

Fans booed and jeered the team after the City defeat and there were even mutterings that the board should sack him.

I don’t mind criticism,” he said. “Win or lose, I try to look in the mirror and think I do the job as well as I can. What you cannot fault is my commitment. When the results are not at the right level, people have the right to criticise. I know what I do and why I do it.”

But now the “In Arsene We Trust” banners are flying again at the Emirates as Wenger strives to pull off a European and FA Cup double.

He added: “I think I have been tough because I have continued to believe in this team when nobody else did.

And I remained faithful to my policy when everyone told me I was heading straight for a brick wall. People reproach me for not having bought Gareth Barry or Xavi Alonso.

“But I am a prisoner of my own policy. Buying Barry or Alonso is killing Alexandre Song, Abou Diaby and Denilson.”

Ironically, Wenger will be given the biggest transfer kitty in the club’s history this summer – £40million. But he insisted: “I stood back from the criticism. I am not running after personal glory. Everything I do is for the club, the players and the supporters.

“You can’t do a public job in a big club, not win matches and say they are all imbeciles.”

Wenger identifies Arsenal’s Champions League penalty shoot-out win in Rome as the real turning point of the season.

He explained: “When I look at that match, we are away from home and missed the first penalty. We had kids taking the penalties, yet still managed to win. There is a key moment in all stories and Rome was ours.

“We were not losing before, but we weren’t convincing. Since Rome, we are scoring again and we are better linking up as a team.”

Arsenal’s season has also been blighted by injuries to Cesc Fabregas, Adebayor, Theo Walcott, Rosicky, Kolo Toure, Johan Djourou, Gallas, keeper Manuel Almunia and Gael Clichy.

The latter three will all miss Wednesday’s Euro crunch against Villarreal. But Wenger added: “We have quick, skilful players, so they do take knocks.
Negative

“When you see the treatment suffered by Theo Walcott against Manchester City, he can only get injured. The advantage is we have been able to see other players, like Song.

“We have been able to integrate them. Previously, if I had taken off Fabregas to play Song, people would have said: ‘He’s mad!’ Somewhere along the line, these injuries have been a bad thing for a good thing.

“We believe in our qualities and our strengths. I believe this team has mentally grown this season. We were under a lot of negative pressure but we always came out and just kept going.

“The fact that we are remarkably consistent shows we have quality. That is no coincidence.”

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Comments

  1. nzekwe Asugha says:

    Iagree with the boss, but you you still need some bit of experience. See what arshavin has done to the confidence in the team. A combination of youth and experience will do the trick next season. We can still win something this season. Kudos to you wenger.

  2. superfly says:

    wow wat an in depth interview.
    Think wengers actions have now been vindicated. Song has looked immense over the last few games. Walcott has grown so much this season.

  3. alex says:

    It’s a (pretty accurate) translation from a recent interview in L’Equipe, France’s leading sports paper.

    One of the things I’ve always liked about Wenger is the fact that he publicly takes any blame for his player, he shields them.

    Wenger knows he is fully secure in his position, so basically saying it’s all his fault might turn a few disgruntled fans and tabloid writers against him, but by and large he keeps morale high inside the squad.

    I think Wenger was very disappointed by Flamini (who basically all season said publicly it’s not about money and he would stay) and angered by Adebayor’s antics.

    I still think Wenger will sell in a heartbeat if someone comes with an offer over £20m cash upfront.

    And I think Wenger expected Rosicky back at least half-way through the season.

    Buying Arshavin in January was an emergency deal to rescue 4th place (successful so far).

    And I think Wenger will be more ruthless this summer and bring in another one or two 25+ year old players; perhaps Udinese’s Inler and Fulham’s Hangeland.

    I also hope Wenger will give Senderos another chance at Arsenal.

    If we can win the FA Cup (or even the Champions League) this season, this will be a major boost and might give the squad the needed confidence boost in the title race next season.

  4. Ifedayo says:

    I also agree with the boss but i really believe in Arsene, one thing i want Arsene to do is that he should try and make everything possible to make all those guys playing presently in arsenal to remain there, he should please them and also try and buy some more experience players so that Arsene work will be fully show by next season, more grease to your elbow Wenger.

  5. ryan says:

    great interview. people have perhaps missed this conversation which they have wanted to listen to all this time and it’s very refreshing to see him saying this. in arsene we seriously DO trust!

  6. AW says:

    Ive won fuck all but I was right, were better than Everton and Villa.

    REDEMTION SONG.

  7. d.j says:

    IN ARSENE WE TRUST!!!!!

  8. lil wayne says:

    Wenger’s decisions for the better part of the season has been spot on considering all the injuries we dealt with,but one thing i know for sure without an iota of doubt is that we lost the league because he stuck with DENILSON. Granted the young lad was given one hell of a task,and he has done his best,but his best wasn’t just good enough.Considering the number and magnitde of games he’s been involved in,he ought to be playing better.You think it’s unfair and not true that one player out of eleven can pull a team down,the position in question is pivotal to both stopping and build up of play.He may have done ok in the former but absolute zilch in the latter.That’s where we lost the league,that’s where le boss got it totally wrong.

  9. lil wayne says:

    Wenger’s only regret ought to be DENILSON.The boy is not just good enough.It was fair and maybe right to give him the opportunity,but after so many starts and playing time ,there’s been little or no improvement.Wenger stuck with him Denilson like there was no replacement at all.Against wigan, in saving him for wednesday we all saw as our game changed positively.Wenger,the boy needs to be rested.

  10. dan says:

    no titles possible with this squad.

  11. MikeSA says:

    This has never been a problem of the quality of the players.

    The squad has been good enough and is good enough, and will just get better.

    All the morons slating Denilson, Song etc. etc. are just spoiled brats who want him to blow money on some “superstar” (like darren bent) that they can wank over and brag to their friends at school about – mindless, childish, stupid.

    However, if Ade so much as twitches an eyebrow out of line this off-season, I reckon AW will shunt him out faster than he can fart.

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