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Wenger wants away goals rule amended in Champions League

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Wenger calls for Champions League rule changes
Wenger calls for Champions League rule changes

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called for the away goals rule to be amended in the Champions League, after his side were dumped out of the competition by Monaco on Tuesday night.

Away goals defeats have undone Arsenal in the Champions League twice in the last three seasons and while some critics will view Wenger's comments as sour grapes after his side's latest European flop, he was firm in his comments as he faced the media on Thursday morning.

"The away goals rule is outdated and should be changed," said Wenger.

"This rule was created in the 60s to favour teams to attack away from home, but since then football has changed.

"The weight of the away goal counts too big today. We should count it [away goals] after extra-time, like we do in the League Cup in England.”

Wenger also downplayed suggestions that the lack of a Premier League side in this season's Champions League quarter-finals was evidence of of a decline in standards in the English game.

“You cannot draw general conclusions from that,” he argued in a week that also saw Manchester City dumped out of the Champions League.

“The quality of the Premier League is very high and the physical demands are extreme. I’m not in a mood too much today to analyse what is wrong for English football.

“In direct knock-out, it is important you are very efficient and a bit lucky and none of the teams, apart from Barcelona [in their 3-1 aggregate win against Manchester City], look superior.”

Despite their European heartache, Arsenal could still finish this season with a top two finish in the Premier League and FA Cup success, with Wenger suggesting progress has been made by his squad in recent months.

“Our mood is down and disappointed after the Monaco result, but now we focus on our next targets," he added. 

"First of all, we get back into the Champions League. Then continue to improve. We are a better team today than four months ago and we have to keep that attitude.

“We have won 13 of our last 15 games and that’s down to consistency, our quality and our improvement. Now we have to push on until the end of the season.

"We are in the semi-final of the FA Cup, in a strong fight in the Premier League. It is important to focus on these targets.”