By Richard Clarke

Arsenal will not be abandoning their footballing principles in the wake of recent disappointments, according to Arsène Wenger. Next season, their aim will be to play their way with more efficiency and defensive maturity.

The Arsenal manager has had to deal with more than his fair share of criticism after his side saw their Champions League and Premier League hopes dashed within six days last week. Both at Liverpool on Tuesday and Manchester United on Sunday, the visitors played much better than the scorelines suggested and, arguably, had little good fortune go their way.

However both games ended in deep disappointment and, in the aftermath, Wenger has had to contend with accusations of underspending, naivety and dogmatism. However, in his post-match press conference on Sunday, Wenger rallied against his critics, arguing that his side had missed out by the merest of margins.

"I am not an idealist," he said. "I want to win trophies and I am very sad that we cannot win a trophy this season now.

"But on the other hand I feel we have done a lot for this League. We want to play the way we play but we want to do it better.

"There was a very, very thin margin between winning and losing this season but that is sport. The winner is praised beyond reason and the team who do not win is slaughtered beyond reason. That is true more in football. We feel there is not a big difference and we want to keep doing what we do.

"We play quality football because we believe it is best way to win trophies. Yes we lacked maturity in some games. Today we were calm at the back but in some games we lacked maturity. However I am confident that if we gain that then we will win again."

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Richard Clarke 14 Apr 2008