Wenger laments Arsenal's Champions League exit

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Wenger looking for positives from another Champions League demise
Wenger looking for positives from another Champions League demise

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger tried to find some silver linings in his side's latest Champions League exit, as he was left to ponder what might have been after his side's away goals defeat against Monaco.

Arsenal's 2-0 win in France may have restored some pride after their shambolic 3-1 first leg defeat, but it was not enough to secure their passed to the quarter-finals.

So for a fifth year in succession, Arsenal crashed out, with Wenger suggesting his players only had themselves to blame for losing to a side they dominated throughout the second leg.

"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," said Wenger.  

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

"I felt that some players were a bit jaded offensively because we have given a lot on Saturday and in the second half lacked a bit of freshness to finish the game off.

"I don’t believe that the best team went through. If you look at the shots on target Monaco had over the two legs, the team that made the less mistakes defensively went through, but congratulations to them.

U2 were interested spectators at Monaco v Arsenal

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

The overall situation is disappointing. If you just look at the game tonight, it is positive for us. I am realistic enough to know every season is different."

Wenger can now expect a fresh wave of criticism after his side's latest setback, but he offered this repost: "Judge our season at the end of the season.

"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."

Meanwhile, Arsenal skipper Per Mertesacker suggested Monaco deserved to go through after their first leg performance at Emirates Stadium.

“I think the best team went through, they deserved it because they played much better in the first leg,” Mertesacker told ITV Sport.

“We had to come back from a massive deficit and we played well in this game, but it wasn’t enough.

“We came here and tried to forget everything and when you look at the game, we could have scored more than two goals. After the first leg, it was already over and we tried to come back. We didn’t do enough.

“They deserve it. Away from home they played much better and we had a lot of problems. We responded well, but our regrets all go to the first leg. 

"If you have one bad game in the Champions League, you are out. Even against a team that was under-estimated by the public, but they deserved it.”