London: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger criticised his players for lack of alacrity after they leaked two “cheap goals” in their first defeat since the opening weekend of the season in the League Cup quarter-finals against Southampton.
The English Premier League (EPL) side left the pitch at the end of both halves to a chorus of boos from their home supporters on Wednesday evening.
“I’m disappointed. We had a disappointing performance, particularly in the first half. I think we were not good enough defensively and gave cheap goals away,” Wenger was quoted as saying by the Guardian on Thursday.
“It was better in the second, but it was one of those nights where you look like you could play two hours without scoring a goal. We didn’t have enough urgency in the first half and were weak in some departments. We paid for that.
“We were not incisive enough and they were sharper than us and fitter. If you give someone a handicap of two goals, against a Premier League side it’s difficult. We had players out there who are used to top-level competition, but we didn’t have the right urgency,” he added.
Quizzed about the supporters’ reaction, Wenger said: “The fans never expect too much. It’s down to us to give them what they want. It is a fact. We have to live with that. But of the players who featured today, Gabriel played on Saturday, Carl Jenkinson has been in the team recently, and Kieran Gibbs has played a lot recently.”
“On the night we were just not at our best. That’s an explanation more than an excuse because there are no excuses. But I can only say ‘well done’ to Southampton. They were better than us tonight,” he added.