ARSENE WENGER has admitted Arsenal will need to deliver something special at Chelsea next weekend to stay in the title race after giving a damning verdict of his team’s woeful performance against United.
Wenger was at a loss to explain why his side performed so badly in a 3-1 defeat that has left his team five points off the top of the table.
“It is a massive blow and a massive disappointment but we have to recover, that’s part of top level football,” said Wenger.
“We need to deliver something special at Stamford Bridge now to stay in the race. I’m conscious of that. Next Sunday we have to deliver a completely different performance.”
Wenger, who normally steers clear of criticising his players and finds someone else to blame, chose an honest approach this time after watching his team demolished by a slick performance from United.
He said: “It’s difficult to accept but easy to explain because we were poor defensively, offensively and cohesion-wise. We delivered an off the mark performance completely. That’s why we were beaten today. We gave them always too much room, we were naïve.”
Wenger, who cryptically added he felt there were “mental reasons” for the display was quick to admit United had been the better team.
“They were better than us for two reasons – one, they played well; and two we were completely not at our level,” he said. “The players wanted to win, they are really down. They know this team has spirit and a good attitude mentally but it’s very difficult to say why were not at all at our level. Now we have to deliver an answer next weekend.”
Having turned the screw on Arsenal’s wobbly title challenge, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson also had the last word, on how it will turn out.
“Well, we still need Chelsea to drop points, obviously,” he said with a glint in his eye. “But Arsenal are not out of it. I hope Arsenal go to Stamford Bridge and batter them!”
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