Arsene Wenger ‘disappointed’ by Arsenal’s Champions League exit – but insists there were ‘lots of positives’
The Gunners fought bravely to win 2-0 away to Monaco but could not find the goal that would have secured a quarter-final spot
Monte Carlo and bust: Arsenal came up short against the Ligue 1 side
Arsene Wenger admitted there was no “fairytale” ending for Arsenal after suffering his toughest European defeat in five years.
The Gunners boss endured a night of hope and frustration as they went out on away goals after failing to make Champions League history by overturning a two goal first leg deficit.
Wenger, whose side have gone out at the last 16 stage for the past five years, said: “Football is not a fairytale. It’s a matter of being realistic and clinical. They were clinical and maybe a bit lucky as well but it’s part of the game.
“Yes (it was the most disappointing exit), I would take it separately from the other years. I am very disappointed to go out tonight. But there were lots of positives.
Monaco 0-2 Arsenal in pictures:
“It is difficult to compare the years because we played Barcelona, and Bayern Munich and we are on a positive trend. This game was on line with what we did recently.
“It is important we want to win the next game. We knew before the game. We looked at the numbers and we had 98 per cent chances to be out but we fought.
“Overall the situation is very disappointing. If you just look at the game it is very positive. The game could have been over at half-time because of the chances we had.”
Wenger confronted Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen at half time as he was bitterly upset with some decisions and said: “I just told him I was not happy with some decisions.”
Hope in vain: Arsenal rallied in the second leg but still went out
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker admitted they paid a heavy price for the first leg defeat.
Mertesacker said: “Today was a completely different day and we could have scored more but it’s a game and if we continue to play like that I think then we have a great chance in the FA Cup and the league.”
Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim accused Wenger of being “disrespectful” by not shaking hands after the first leg and also not taking them seriously enough.
Jardim said: “I think it was disrespectful. Right now we’re celebrating and we think Arsenal did not show enough respect during the first leg.”