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Wenger blames title failure on injuries

ESPN staff
April 10, 2014 « Mourinho dodges one sanction but lands another | Test Wayin World Cup »
Arsene Wenger: "We lost players at important moments of the season" © Getty Images
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Arsene Wenger has laid the blame for Arsenal's latest failure to sustain a Premier League title push on an injury crisis he feels derailed their season.

Arsenal have gone from title contenders to a side desperately fighting to cling on to their position in the Premier League's top four after last Sunday's 3-0 defeat at Goodison Park put Everton in pole position to snatch a Champions League place from Wenger's grasp.

Injuries to Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil have disrupted Arsenal's plans in recent months.

Should Wenger take the blame?

Arsene Wenger has had many head-scratching moments this season © Getty Images
  • Arsenal may still be in the running for the most significant trophies if they hadn't choked away from home in the biggest games.
  • Thrashings at Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have left serious questions marks over the approach of manager Arsene Wenger and left the campaign with a feeling of failure.
  • John Cross says it's the Frenchman not the players who has been found wanting. Click here to find out why

Ahead of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Wigan, Wenger has claimed injuries and not a lack of back-up quality in his ranks is the primary reason for their end of season slump.

"I feel this season we lost key players at a big important moment of the season," said Wenger. "At the moment we have too many players out and it's important we get them back. We know that at this period of the season to have this number of players out is too many.

"Our main task [next summer] will be to keep the team together and think where did we go wrong. There are a lot of positives in our season as well, but we have dropped off when we lost our players at an important moment of the season. That is what we don't want to repeat."

Earlier this week, Santi Cazorla warned Arsenal he could leave the club if they don't start competing for titles, saying they should take a leaf out of Manchester City's book and spend big in the summer.

However Wenger insisted his squad does not need a complete overhaul.

"You can always improve in our game," said Wenger in response to Cazorla's comments. "When results are not as well, you always think you can improve. There is no perfect team. We'll always try to improve our squad and our team.

"We just have to focus on finishing as well as we can. We are in a position to do well until the end of the season. It is not about next season, it's about this season."

Wenger went on to admit confidence has dipped among his players after recent heavy defeats at Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton, but he is convinced they will respond in the right manger against Wigan at Wembley.

"We know that we didn't turn up with the performance we wanted [at Everton]," he added. "After the huge disappointment, we analysed what didn't go right and where want to improve. I said after the game, we want to go back to basics. First of all the team has to defend better and of course that was not right in the Everton game."

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