Fri, Feb 17, 2017 - Page 16 News List

We collapsed, no excuses, Wenger says of rout

AFP, MUNICH, Germany

Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi, left, fouls Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski in their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 first leg at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted his side had “collapsed mentally” in their 5-1 UEFA Champions League rout by Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The under-pressure Frenchman said there were no excuses as the Gunners faced a seventh successive round-of-16 exit after their latest mauling.

“We conceded the second goal and then the most important thing was that we lost Laurent Koscielny [to injury]. We collapsed mentally,” said Wenger, who faces fresh calls for his resignation.

Wenger’s post-match news conference lasted barely five minutes and was cut short after he answered just a few questions.

“I am not looking for excuses. Overall, I must say they were a better team than us, they played very well in the second half and we dropped our level,” he said. “They were better than us, well done to Bayern. Their third goal was a killer — we had no response. It is a shock of course to lose at this level.”

Wenger refused to discuss his personal mood after the match.

“How I feel I don’t think is the most important, but of course it is disappointing,” he said, although pundits thought otherwise.

“He looked particularly wounded. I feel for him — he almost needs to be protected from himself,” former Arsenal defender Martin Keown told BT Sport. “This is a massive low point for him. This brings forward the change that looks likely at the end of the season.”

Arjen Robben opened the scoring after just 11 minutes at the Allianz Arena, before Alexis Sanchez leveled for Arsenal on the half-hour mark, but Robert Lewandowski restored the German side’s lead after 53 minutes, heading in a cross from Philipp Lahm, with Thiago Alcantara adding a third just three minutes later.

Thiago piled on the misery for Arsene Wenger with his second just after the hour mark. with substitute Thomas Mueller adding a fifth two minutes from time.

Wenger said his side lost their composure after Lewandowski’s powerful header and suffered a “nightmare” final 25 minutes.

“We were badly done for the second goal and the real problems came after the third goal, because we lost our organization,” he said. “We were very jaded and vulnerable from that moment on. The last 25 minutes were a nightmare for us.”

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