Wenger hopes for early ‘Christmas present’ as Arsenal qualify for Last 16
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised his young side in spite of a 2-1 defeat to Olympiacos in the final Group Stage match of the Champions League on Tuesday. The Frenchman believes praised his player and suggested that his side would have won had it not been for a couple of questionable calls from the match referee.
Tomas Rosicky returned to action with a bang by drawing first blood for Arsenal. However, a 64th minute equalizer from Giannis Maniatis and a 73rd minute winner from Kostas Mitroglou helped Olympiacos record a memorable victory.
Arsenal could have finished on top of the table if they had won against Olympiacos. A draw between Schalke and Montpellier in the other Group B encounter had already ensured that. Nonetheless, Arsene Wenger was happy with a second place finish in the Group Stages.
The Emirates boss claimed it was good to see his young side perform so well on the road. Arsenal’s squad included a whole bunch of young players, such as Francis Coquelin and Jernade Meade.
“I feel with young players, you can discover them in competitions like tonight. They have the quality and I believe if everybody is fit we have a strong squad,” Arsene Wenger said.
“But in certain areas of course, when you have players like (Abou) Diaby and Rosicky not fit like was the case into now, we are a bit short because we cannot rotate.
“We'll see where we stand on the 1st of January and see what we do.”
Arsene Wenger voiced his unhappiness against poor refereeing, which led to the equalizer from Giannis Maniatis.
“We had a good first half. I believe we dropped physically in the second because many players lack experience at that level therefore we couldn't take the chances for the second goal,” Arsene Wenger said.
“On top of that, we got a very bad decision against us on the goal. I am not against the fifth referee but you would like them to be at least concentrated on their job and that was not the case tonight.”
Having entered the Knockout Stage of Champions League, Arsene Wenger admits he would like an early ‘Christmas present’ in the form of a favorable draw.
“We need a Christmas present of a good draw now and we could get a bad draw or a less strong team,” Arsene Wenger continued. The only disadvantage we have is we will play the second leg away from home but statistically it is not proven it is a disadvantage.”