Arsene Wenger jokingly admitted to being “a bitter loser” after choosing not to condemn Louis van Gaal’s touchline theatrics in Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat at Manchester United on Sunday.
Van Gaal threw himself to the ground as a mocking criticism of a refereeing decision at Old Trafford, where Marcus Rashford’s brace and Ander Herrera’s deflected strike inflicted a damaging loss on the Premier League title contenders.
Quizzed on the appropriateness of the Dutch manager’s unorthodox method of communicating with the fourth official, Wenger said: “You will have to ask him the question. I do not want to comment on that because afterwards you will say I’m a bitter loser.
“Well, I am, in fact.”
Rashford stole the show on his maiden top-flight outing with his fourth goal in two matches for United, while fellow teenager Timothy Fosu-Mensah also made his debut off the bench.
But Wenger rejected suggestions an Arsenal team close to full strength should have done better against the makeshift Red Devils.
“Let’s not go overboard,” he said.
“They still had a few millions [of pounds worth of talent] on the pitch. From [goalkeeper David] De Gea to the whole midfield was experienced players … [Memphis] Depay, they spent a lot of money [on] him. You cannot call him a player from the academy.”
Wenger did acknowledge a Gunners side boasting the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez should have done more to threaten United, who have been inconsistent at best this season.
“We struggled to be dangerous, it’s true,” he said.
“I want to analyse the game again to see exactly why.”
The French manager must complete his assessment quickly, with Swansea City due to visit Emirates Stadium in the league on Wednesday.