Wenger warning for Premier League
Arsene Wenger warned English football to take heed of a "massive wake-up call" after Arsenal's exit from the Champions League left no Premier League representatives in the quarter-finals.
It has been a chastening year for England's representatives in Europe's top competition, with the Gunners following Manchester United out in the last 16, while Chelsea and Manchester City exited in the group stages. Wenger's side salvaged pride with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich, but were condemned to an away-goals exit following their 3-1 defeat at the Emirates.
"It's a massive disappointment for English football," said Wenger. "For a number of years we've not had that. I think it's a massive wake-up call for us. It means the rest of Europe has caught up on us. We have to take that into consideration when we think about the future of the Premier League."
The exit of Arsenal at the last-16 stage means there are no English representatives in the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time since 1995-96. Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, however, insists there has been no major power shift in the balance of Champions League football.
He said: "The gap between the Bundesliga and the (English) Premier League is not as big as it has been made out. The English teams had an unlucky draw, with Manchester United against Real Madrid and Arsenal with us. Arsenal will be back again."
The north London side at least gave themselves a chance, taking a lead in the third minute through Olivier Giroud and then making it 2-0 with four minutes left courtesy of Laurent Koscielny. Reflecting on his side's success in the notoriously difficult Allianz Arena, Wenger said: "Of course I'm very proud of the performance of the team.
"I think there was room to score (a third goal) and when you look at the game you have many regrets about our first game.
"I believe that it was very feasible to knock Bayern out. We got the belief of that when we watched the (first) game again, we had a plan that we respected, it went a bit fast on some occasions, but overall I felt that we had the quality to be there."
Heynckes admitted it had been a below-par display from his side.
"We did not play well and were given a black eye," he said. "It was a rare off night for us, but you cannot expect us to win by three or four goals in every game."
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