By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger is glad to see the back of 2008 after a frustrating 12 months for Arsenal.
At his first press conference of 2009, the Frenchman reflected on a year which began with his young team setting the pace in the Premier League but ended with frustration at home and in Europe.
Wenger saw his side fall short in the title race and crash out of the Champions League at Liverpool before making a slow start to the new campaign. For the Arsenal manager, it was a year which highlighted the fine line between success and failure in football.
"It was not a great year," admitted Wenger.
"We were in a strong position [this time last year]. I still believe we were unlucky because we were very close to winning the championship and we were very close in the Champions League and unlucky in the Champions League.
"But that is the game. The difference is very, very small between success and failure, so it is important to be consistent and keep your focus and belief."
The New Year is a time for reflection and, although Wenger believes his team has received undue criticism of late, he admits that he made mistakes of his own in 2008.
"Look, unless you're completely crazy in life you can never say you could not have done anything differently," he said.
"That means that every morning from when you get up to when you go to bed you do not make one simple mistake. Only a guy who is completely full of himself could say that and I will never say that.
"We worked very hard, with total commitment inside the Club and that is what you want from everybody. I know I worked harder than ever and that I am more committed than ever. I tried to be intelligent and all the rest is subjective.
"But I think we were in a more negative environment on the media side. The other day I saw some statistics, and for example in 2005/06 we lost 11 games and we went into the Champions League Final and only went into the Champions League in the final game of the season.
"But we were never under any pressure [from the media that season], not like this team. We are five years younger and under much more pressure now."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 2 Jan 2009