By Declan Taylor
Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal’s Champions League Semi-Final first leg defeat at Old Trafford has been somewhat misinterpreted.
After withstanding some early pressure against Manchester United last week, the Gunners conceded a close-range John O’Shea drive after 18 minutes. But eventually, despite not being at their best, Wenger’s men left Manchester only a goal behind on aggregate.
Although the defeat was slim, the media’s post-mortem appeared to find Arsenal dead and buried in the tie. But for Wenger, there wasn’t too much to choose between the sides.
“I believe that the game was, possession-wise, quite balanced,” the manager said. “They were sharper than us in the final third, especially in the first half an hour. The deficit was not so much – we expected them to be dangerous.
“But, especially in the last 20 minutes, they collapsed quite well and we had a lot of possession in the final part of the game. But we didn’t manage to be dangerous enough.”
Before the clash Wenger had questioned the weighting of the Champions League away goal. And the manager explained how Man United’s early goal caused the home side to be negative.
“Where their goal punished us was that they were in a situation of ‘mentally, let’s defend well and catch them on the break’,” he continued.
“We were away from home playing to score and they were at home playing to catch us on the break.
“If you look after the first 20 minutes most of their chances were basically on the break.”Copyright 2013 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 5 May 2009