Emirates Stadium boss not a happy man.
Arsène Wenger unleashed a tirade at his Arsenal players on Thursday which startled some of them in its severity, as he sought to refocus minds following the club’s Champions League humiliation at Milan.
The manager bolted shut the doors of the dressing room at the training ground before the squad’s warm-down session to turn the air blue. Having repeatedly employed the carrot, this represented the use of a large stick and the players could not remember seeing him so incensed.
Wenger had been quiet in the dressing room at San Siro after the 4-0 last-16 first-leg defeat, which has all but pressed the club out of Europe’s elite competition for another season. It was their heaviest loss in Europe. Wenger prefers to analyse matches with a cool head and not deliver assessments in the heat of the moment but, after the early-morning return to Luton airport and a little sleep, his anger had not abated.
He had given the players a taste of what was to come in his post-match press conference, when he was unusually critical of their efforts, describing the result and performance as a “disaster”. “We were punished and deservedly so,” he said. “I felt we were never in the game, we were very poor offensively and defensively. It was shocking to see how we were beaten everywhere.”
Arsenal fans may well welcome the fact that Arsene Wenger laid into his inconsistent Gunners side and will hope that an uncharacteristic tongue lashing may well have the desired effect as the North London side prepare for some hugely important Premier League outings in the coming weeks.
Having seen his Arsenal side thrashed by AC Milan in midweek, leaving the club pretty much out of the Champions League, Wenger now knows he must get the most out of his side as they push for a top four finish, the very least he needs to secure to help appease the club’s supporters.
Arsenal have lost eight Premier League matches this term, a total that is all the more poor when you consider that the top three have lost a combined total of just 10 games, but Wenger will at least be encouraged by the fact that his side does occupy that all important fourth spot, albeit only on goals scored.
Wenger will hope that his verbal volley will kick his side into life as they prepare for three big matches as they go head to head with Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle United in the next few weeks.