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'It's very sad for us to miss top four'

Arsene Wenger sat down for his final Premier League press conference of the season shortly after watching us win 3-1 against Everton - despite going down to 10 men early in the match.

Read on for the manager’s take on our performance, and our fifth-place finish:

on the win…We have played well, very well. We were down to 10 men for such a long time, so to win the game means we have shown what we have shown recently: strength, togetherness and fighting spirit. We won the game and we knew that’s all we could do before the game. It was very difficult because we were down to 10 men for a long, long time and it was hot too. We stuck together and we could have even scored some more goals at the end. They also had some chances, of course, but we did the job.

on his reaction to a lack of Champions League football…I don’t know yet because we have not started the Champions League yet, but it’s very sad. For 20 years we were in it and it’s the first year that we will not be in it. It’s very strange because for 75 points, we are only one point short. Of course you can look everywhere for where we dropped these points, but since January it’s been a very difficult environment for different reasons. Some you know about, and that’s very difficult for a group of players to cope with that. There are some other reasons that we will talk about another day. Psychologically, the environment for this group of players was absolutely horrendous and I’m very proud of what they have done, the way they responded and finished the season.

on losing nine games this season and which areas he needs to look at for next season…Look, I would tell you as well we also won 23. In the unbeaten year we won 26, so we are not far away. It’s true that we lost too many games and that’s where we find the points that we missed tonight, but that was down to the period where we were unstable defensively and unsettled mentally as well by the exit that happened against Bayern Munich.

on switching to a back three and how much that helped…It helped because we were unstable defensively. I think it helped to redress and to come back with more defensive stability. Of course, maybe we moved to that a fraction too late in the season.

on if the team can benefit from this late run…Yes, I think this group of players is good enough to come back. They have learned a lot and they have gone through difficult periods this season and they have bounced back in a very strong way. I think that will help them, absolutely, next season. But first I think we have to keep 90 per cent of these players together and find one or two more who strengthen the group but we don’t need a lot. We don’t need many. But we need maybe top quality.

 

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