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Wenger: We lost the title against smaller teams

Arsene Wenger has been forced to rue Arsenal’s performances against the lesser lights of the Premier League as he looks likely to go a 12th-straight season without a league title.

The Frenchman backed his team’s record against the bigger sides, but said it was their failure to perform under less pressure that was costing them league titles.

“If you look objectively at our season we have done better than anybody against the big teams … but we did not turn up when we felt we were less under pressure,” Wenger said.

“I say to my players that our responsibility is to fight in every single match until the last minute of the season.”

Failure to beat Crystal Palace on Sunday would surely end Arsenal’s already slim hopes of pipping Leicester City to the title.

Arsenal are 13 points off Leicester with six games to play and Wenger believes his side might be a victim of their own attacking outlook.

“We are an attacking side,” insisted Wenger.

“I don’t think you can pretend to be a big club and say ‘we only want to defend’ – we have that responsibility and we have to stand up for that.

“We have to continue to develop the quality of our game. It doesn’t mean we have to change our style. It means we have to be better in the style we play.

“At West Ham, the fact that [Andy] Carroll stayed on the pitch was absolutely scandalous. But nobody speaks about that.

“Of course, then, it’s easy to be physical. If you’re allowed absolutely everything on the football pitch. It’s easy to be physical – because you’re not punished.”

And Wenger once again refused to credit Tottenham for their form this season, but admitted he would have to pay his respects if they were to finish above Arsenal.

“If Tottenham get in front of us you have to respect they have won more points,” Wenger added.

“But we are not there yet. I’ve said this many times.

“To be top London club is not the target at the start of the season.

“You want to win the league and do well in all the competitions but the derby means a lot and the position compared to Tottenham means a lot.”

Sun 17 Apr, 2016
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