By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger insists he is giving “every drop of blood” to help his team achieve its goals but he concedes that something has been holding Arsenal back this season.
The Frenchman and his squad - not to mention the fans - have been digesting a North London derby defeat that saw Tottenham fight back from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 at Emirates Stadium.
The result stopped Arsenal reaching the summit of the Premier League table and, although Chelsea’s defeat at Birmingham keeps Wenger’s side very much in the title hunt, the manager is concerned at his team’s inability to close out matches.
Wenger’s attentions have now turned to Tuesday night’s Champions League clash with Braga but, before flying out to Portugal, the Frenchman tried to put his finger on what went wrong at the weekend.
“There are mixed feelings,” he said. “Of course we have huge disappointment in the way we lost the game because it was not very rational to understand how we lost a game of that magnitude, leading 2-0 and the way we conceded the goals.
“That leaves us massive regrets but on the other hand the way the game was won should not make us doubt our potential because out of this game we should strengthen our feeling that we have a very important part to play in this league.
“[The derby defeat] was down certainly to easing a bit off with the concentration because we are so at ease in some games that maybe subconsciously we feel we need to go through the motions. As well there are some other more subtle, subconscious feelings that we have not won [the game] yet and we get a bit nervous when you have to become really concrete.
“I just feel we have had the opportunity two or three times to go top of the league and we didn't take it for different reasons. On Saturday what is encouraging is that we turned up with the performance and [because] the players were all away in midweek we felt we had problems to maintain the focus and concentration and intensity of our game tactically.
“I want so much for this team to win that I am giving every drop of my blood to make sure that they win. I want them to be successful because they deserve it and it hurts when you get so close as you did on Saturday and you don't manage to do it.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source