Arsene Wenger stopped short of ruling Arsenal out of the Premier League title race, but admitted it will be difficult after they drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace.
The Gunners are 13 points behind leaders Leicester City – who drew 2-2 with West Ham on Sunday – with five games remaining, meaning they will need a dramatic turn around to secure a first title since 2004.
However, Wenger refused to say his side were no longer contenders and called for focus ahead of their clash with West Brom on Thursday.
“It is very early to say that [Arsenal are out of the title race],” he told Sky Sports.
“But at the moment we have to recover and focus on our next game, not to jump to conclusions too quickly.
“It is difficult, we know that, and today we made it more difficult for ourselves. We have to focus and win our next game.”
Wenger was left frustrated by Arsenal’s display at Emirates Stadium as they let Yannick Bolasie score a late equaliser, the Palace forward cancelling out Alexis Sanchez’s opener.
The Frenchman added: “It’s a disappointing result, I believe we had lot of possession, but couldn’t transform it into clear-cut chances
“We lacked a change of pace, our passing was a bit slow. At the end we’re unlucky because they had one shot on goal and got one goal.
“The team put a lot of effort in, but maybe lacked something, maybe a lack of confidence to go for it. It is a bad result for us.”
Bolasie’s strike with nine minutes remaining caught Petr Cech – who had nothing to do for most of the encounter – off guard, but Wenger refused to blame his goalkeeper.
“It doesn’t look unstoppable, but he will know that better than I do,” he said. “Maybe he could have stopped it, maybe he was surprised, I don’t know. It is difficult to blame individuals.”
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