Wenger - Last season hurt us

11 April 2009 01:17
Arsene Wenger believes that missing out on last season's Premier League title affected his players during the current campaign. A poor start to the season saw Arsenal fall out of contention in this year's title race, but they have risen back into the top four after a resurgence in form. Wenger believes that the Gunners' demoralising collapse at the end of last season coupled with the departure of two key players was the reason behind their sluggish start. "They aren't so much in the choices of my team - I've been picking teams for 35 years and even if I'm not flawless, I still know what I'm doing," Wenger told L'Equipe "But I perhaps made the mistake of underestimating the ill-fated effects of last season and notably the loss of the title. Questions "In the close season, I asked myself a lot of questions about the influence that could be brought about by the disappointment of the loss of the championship in the last two months. "And then we lost Alexandr Hleb, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky (to long-term injury). I had to rebuild the midfield." The 59-year-old manager also admitted that speculation over Emmanuel Adebayor's future had an unsettling effect on the club. He added: "The Adebayor incident has equally been an important factor. All this came together and our game wasn't there. Even people who love Arsenal were saying: 'This is a disaster'." Wenger has had to defend himself against some unexpected criticism when he refused to make major moves in the transfer market as Arsenal slipped out of the top four. But he is glad that he did not let negative comments affect his running of the team. Strong "I believe I have been strong because I've continued to believe in this team when nobody else believed in it," he added. "I stayed loyal to my principles when everyone was saying to me that I was going wrong. "I took a step back from the criticism. I'm not running after personal glory. Everything I do is for the club, the players and the supporters. Wenger also thinks that the dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Roma in the Champions League has proved to be the turning point in the Gunners' season. He said: "There is always a key moment and Rome was that catalyst. "Before that, we weren't losing but we were not convincing. Since Rome, we are scoring again and we have the best run going, and that is a barometer of confidence. "Now we are unbeaten in 17 matches and that leaves me with a lot of regrets."

Source: SKY_Sports