Arsène Wenger has sprung to the defence of the Premier League in the wake of recent results - insisting it remains the most competitive in Europe.

Chelsea were the only English club to avoid defeat in the Champions League last 16, with Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United all beaten 2-0 in their respective first legs.

But the Frenchman insists it is too soon to draw any major conclusions, and says the Premier League should remain a source of pride.

I feel that [in England] you can go to Cardiff, anybody, and lose. Spain was a good league as well, but this season the English league is the most difficult

Arsène Wenger

“I maintain that [it is the best], despite the results, because it is the most level league,” Wenger said. “There is not the difference of quality - for example, between Bayern Munich and the rest of the German league.

“You have Bayern, Dortmund, then after that there is a big gap. Dortmund this year are not so much there [at their best] because they had many injuries.

“I feel that [in England] you can go to Cardiff, anybody, and lose. Spain was a good league as well, but this season the English league is the most difficult.

“Maybe we pay a little bit the price for that [due to its] toughness, the intensity. You cannot rest any player. In every single game you just have to focus on getting the best team out.”

Wenger says too much has been made of recent Champions League results and points out that, historically, Premier League clubs have been very competitive in Europe.

“It is too early to say that there is a trend there,” he said. “If you look in the last 10 years, the English clubs in the Champions League have done extremely well.

“After that you have Barcelona and Barcelona is Barcelona. Real Madrid is Real Madrid. Bayern is Bayern. When you play against these teams you can lose.

“The Champions League is a championship and a cup. Once you go into the cup, it can depend on one sending off, on one game. It is very difficult. At the end of the day, you know that one good team will win it, but maybe when you look well, this team sometimes was a bit lucky in one or two games.

“Like last year, everybody said the German league is suddenly the best league in the world. But that is not more true than this year because they are the same teams.”

Copyright 2014 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 Rob Kelly 27 Feb 2014