Thursday, March 14, 2013
''THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL TO ENGLISH FOOTBALL'' WENGER URGES EPL CLUBS TO LEARN FROM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OUSTER AFTER 17 YEARS
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has warned English football to learn from its demise in this year’s Champions League after his side beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Allianz Arena but failed to reach the last eight.
Despite winning the Bundesliga giant 2-0 on the night, the Gunners were unable to overhaul the 3-1 deficit from the first leg.
They went out on away goals, an agonising exit which leaves England with no representative in the last eight of the Champions League for the first time in 17 years.
‘It is a massive disappointment for English football,’ said Wenger.
‘It’s a massive wake-up call for us to have Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal all out in the quarter-finals.
'The rest of European football has caught up with us and we have to take that into consideration about the way we think about the future of the Premier League.’
Arsenal were given hope of pulling off a remarkable victory when Olivier Giroud scored in the third minute and Laurent Koscielny got another four minutes from time.
But Wenger confessed there were ‘many regrets’ from the defeat in London against Bayern, rated among the favourites to win the competition, and in particular the crucial third goal late on scored by Mario Mandzukic.
‘We went close and I’m very proud of the performance of the team,’ said the Frenchman.
‘But I am very disappointed for everyone who follows Arsenal that we could not get a third goal.
'There was room to score and we have many regrets from the first game. Qualifying is about 180 minutes and for the first 90 we were not at our best.
‘Still, we felt it was feasible to knock Bayern out. We had a plan and we respected it. At least we have shown we have the quality to be there.
‘You could see the weight of that third goal we gave away with three minutes to go in the first leg. That was massive.
Wenger refused to give details on his reasons for dropping his captain Thomas Vermaelen, one of five changes from the first leg.
He also left out goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and was rewarded with an excellent display from goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and his back four.