Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has branded his player “average” and “naive” after they lost 2-0 to Barcelona in their Champions League last-16 first leg tie.
The Gunners kept the European champions at bay until the 71st minute when a devastating counter attack between the Barcelona front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar saw Messi through on goal, converting past Petr Cech to break the deadlock.
Messi then added a second in the 83rd minute after being fowled by substitute Mathieu Flamini in the box, and the Argentine converted to double his side’s lead.
After a disciplined first half performance, Wenger saw his side to concede two late goals to put them on the verge of Champions League exit, having to visit the Camp Nou with a two goal deficit.
Speaking after the game, the Frenchman slammed his players performance, claiming his side were “very average”.
“Barcelona is a great team,” said Wenger. “We put a lot of energy in the game and technically we were very average.
“The regret I had was once we looked like we dominate the game, we give the goal away. Similar to Monaco last season, naive, and that is frustrating. When we looked like we could win the game, we just gave it away.
“Realistically it is very,very difficult, if not impossible. We have to go there and fight. We had the chances, we didn’t score.
“We knew we could not afford to give them counter attacks and that is exactly what we did,” added Wenger.
“It is too easy to blame, you have to respect the effort. They always can kill you when you think you are on top.
“In their transition they never make a bad pass. They are better than us, there is no shame, they are European champions and that is no coincidence.”