Wenger: 'Don't jump to conclusions'

30 October 2013 08:31

Arsene Wenger has found the back-to-back home defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea galling, but dismissed suggestions Arsenal cannot hack it against their peers.

After a poor opening day defeat to Aston Villa at the Emirates, the Gunners have responded fantastically and now sit top of the Barclays Premier League.

However, despite that success, questions remain over the strength in depth of Arsenal's squad as well as their ability to compete against other top teams.

Those perceived weaknesses were highlighted as a much-changed Chelsea side comprehensively won their Capital One Cup fourth-round tie 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The defeat came a week on from a 2-1 home loss to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League - not that Wenger would entertain the notion that Arsenal have not quite made the leap against the top sides.

"Let's not reach a conclusion too quickly," said the Frenchman, who oversaw victory at Crystal Palace at the weekend.

"I think if you take the points we have made since January 1, it's more than everybody else.

"I believe that, over a longer distance, you'll see more of the quality of the team than in the last two games.

"It is true that it is difficult to swallow what happened to us in the last week, but as well the mistakes are so big that they can be corrected.

"We have to keep the basis of our game and go into the next one with that and get those mistakes out [of our system]."

Arsenal will have a chance to quieten the naysayers on Saturday, when in-form Liverpool come to north London.

That match is followed by trips to Dortmund and Manchester United, but Wenger does not see any extra significance in the clash with Brendan Rodgers' side.

"Look, in football it is always difficult to be definite," Wenger said.

"People go quickly to definite conclusions. After the first game against Aston Villa, we were relegated.

"Today we are in a strong position in the league. It is down to how we get rid ourselves of these mistakes without losing the belief in our qualities. That is what is at stake."

The mistake that put Arsenal on the backfoot against Chelsea came from Carl Jenkinson, whose tame back header was prodded home by Cesar Azpilicueta midway through the first half.

Juan Mata's venomous right-footed strike in the second half doubled Chelsea's lead - but Wenger does not regret naming key men Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud amongst the substitutes with a quarter-final place at stake.

"I think it was a very tight game that was decided on one or two mistakes," he said.

"But overall you cannot play all the games with the same players and at some stage you have to rotate.

"It's not a regret. Overall, there are a lot of positives in the game, as well as negatives that we lost it.

"Giving the first goal away in the big games, you give yourselves a mountain to climb, especially against a team who are good on the counter and defend well.

"But overall the players put the effort in."

As well as ending Arsenal's hopes of Capital One Cup success, the loss means Wenger has now failed to overcome Jose Mourinho in all their nine meetings.

The Portuguese chose to forego the post-match press conference at the Emirates, with assistant first-team coach Steve Holland instead facing the media.

"I think it's been a satisfying three days," he said after the Blues followed up Sunday's 2-1 win against Manchester City with another victory.

"You're not just talking about a team. The objective at Chelsea is always to compete in all four competitions.

"Given we had to play the game tonight, which I know Jose has documented was far from ideal with one day between the matches, it gave us no choice really but to use the full squad.

"Every player in the squad deserves great credit for their performances in the three days."

Source: PA