Arsenal v Manchester United: Kieran Gibbs not to blame says Arsene Wenger

06 May 2009 09:34
Gibbs was substituted at half-time after his slip allowed Ji-Sung Park to put Manchester United into the lead after just eight minutes and leave Arsenal with the unlikely task of scoring at least three times.

"I don't want to blame anyone but it is like that," said Wenger. "In three minutes we conceded two goals against a team that defends well and is sure to come out on the counter-attack. We were really up for the fight, ready for the game. We kept going and tried to play with pride and desire but of course it had gone."

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The Arsenal manager was, though, gracious in defeat and agreed with Sir Alex Ferguson about Cristiano Ronaldo's exceptional performance playing as a central striker.

"Manchester United, I have to say over the two games, deserve to go through," said Wenger. "The tie could have been over in the first leg and, even though I felt we had a good chance to come back tonight, they were the better side, so congratulations to them and good luck to them in the final. We were caught by a team that has the art to kill and take advantage of every mistake. And Ronaldo, in particular, gave us a tough time."

Ferguson added: "Yes, you could say Ronaldo was excellent but when you look through the team it's difficult to identify who the star men were - they were all fantastic. I've said many times before that we haven't won the European Cup enough times and this is an opportunity for us to put that right. We have the quality and the energy and the ambition. It's a hungry team, we have shown that tonight, and when the chips are down they don't let me down.

" We coped with Arsenal well, played some really good football and had Ronaldo up front. When you can leave out Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, it's a measure of the players who played."

Patrice Evra was rather less charitable about Arsenal. "It was 11 men against 11 babies," he said. "We never doubted ourselves. We have much more experience and that's what made the difference. We were always confident. It should have been that score in the first leg anyway. It is a great United team that won.

"Football today is not only about playing well, it's about winning trophies. Everybody talks about the way Arsenal play but, at the end of the day, it's about winning silverware.

"At United, we play well and we win. Tactically and technically we were superior. You look at our starting 11 and theirs and you see that we are well above.

"Lots of people are disappointed because they thought they would beat us like they did in the league. But the Champions League is another level."


Source: Telegraph