Date: 1st December 2016 at 10:22pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger has spoken of his frustration at how the League Cup quarter final tie against Southampton played out.

Arsenal hosted Claude Puel’s side at the Emirates Stadium for the game, but a below par performance saw us lose two nil on the evening, and Wenger knew that we had cost ourselves on the evening.

Speaking to the Official Site in his post game press conference, Wenger explained.

‘We had a disappointing performance, especially in the first half. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. We were not good enough defensively and gave cheap goals away in the first half. In the second half it was better but it was one of these nights where we looked like we could play for two hours without scoring a goal. We didn’t have enough urgency in the first half, we were weak in some departments and we paid for that.’

Wenger admitted his frustration at the evening.

‘We were not incisive enough in the first half, especially. In the second half they played very deep and were sharper than us. With a two-goal advantage, everybody defended very well. If you give a handicap of two goals in the first half against a Premier League team, it`s difficult.’

With plenty pointing to so many changes on the evening, Wenger didn’t believe that the changes per se had caused the defeat, it was all about the performance.

‘I have regrets on having lost the game. I think we have played well until now and when you look at the players who have played tonight, some of the players who didn’t play tonight were on the edge. When you look at the team we played, in midfield we had Coquelin, Ramsey, Elneny, afterwards Xhaka. Up front we had Lucas, Giroud was injured. We had Iwobi, who is a regular player in the first team. I don`t think the problem was there – we had players who are used to top-level competition but I think we maybe didn`t have the right urgency from the start on.’

With Mohamed Elneny going off injured before the half time break in the game, Wenger admitted the player had been ill ahead of the game but felt that he could soldier on.

‘He was sick before the game. He decided he felt well enough. I could see after five or 10 minutes that he was not right. He has no medical injury problem, but he has diarrhea or a stomach problem.’

Adding again about the overall performance.

‘No, I think you take the players today – Gabriel played on Saturday, Jenkinson played recently. Gibbs played many games recently. They all played, so I think on the night we were not at our best. That exists even if it`s not an excuse. It`s more an explanation than an excuse because there are no excuses, but I can only say well done to Southampton. They were better than us tonight.’

In a final official site interview discussing the match, he added.

‘It`s not only a disappointing night because we are out, but it`s a disappointing night because the performance was disappointing. I question our urgency level, our focus from the start on. It was not good enough and we paid for that. Overall, I think that is the most disappointing. It can happen that you go out of the competition, but our first 45 minutes were just not good enough and not at the level of required concentration. In the second half we responded well, but overall for me, that`s the most disappointing.’

Questioned about the half time team talk, Wenger wasn’t going to go into specifics, but he did say.

‘That what we did there was not Arsenal. It`s not the way you can stay in the competition and that we want a different response. I think it was there, but overall it`s a disappointing night and I must say, Southampton deserved to qualify and well done to them. They were ready from the start on and we were not.’

So moving forward.

‘Yes, I felt we had a squad that could win it. We had the luck to play at home. It`s disappointing to have a crowd like we have, you can give them some satisfaction in this competition as well and the way we started the game, I think it`s disappointing. I don`t think I can moan about the momentum in the Premier League, that is important for us. I knew that in the League Cup that could happen, but it`s disappointing to lose the game more than the run we have. The run we want to keep in the Premier League, but I am very disappointed tonight because there are questions on important things. You know, when you turn up in the first 45 minutes we played.’

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