Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1: We made it difficult for ourselves, admits Wenger
Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1: Arsene Wenger admits he found it hard to come to terms with his side's damaging defeat by their local rivals
A deflated Arsene Wenger admitted he found it difficult to come to terms with Arsenal’s damaging defeat by Tottenham as Spurs opened up a seven-point lead over their north London rivals.
Gareth Bale opened the scoring in the 37th minute when he was slid through by Gylfi Sigurdsson and fired past Wojciech Szczesny for his 16th league goal of the season.
And Aaron Lennon made it 2-0 less than two minutes later as he latched onto Scott Parker’s through-ball and rounded the Arsenal goalkeeper before tapping into an empty net.
Wenger’s men pulled one back through Per Mertesacker’s header shortly after half-time but Spurs clung on for the win, which hoists them up into third place in the table.
“It’s very difficult to swallow, a defeat like that,” Wenger, whose side remain in fifth place and five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, told Sky Sports.
“The energy level we produced for the 90 minutes was tremendous, but we made it difficult for ourselves in the first half.
“They had no shots on goal and [then] we were then down 2-0. In the second half we came back and dominated again but it was stop-and-go, it was difficult to get the flow in the final minutes.”
Arsenal’s defence was made to pay for switching off twice in two minutes as Spurs took a decisive lead, and Wenger admitted he was disappointed with the two goals conceded.
He said: “I will have to watch it again but it looks a bit like that [that poor defending proved the difference].
“For the two goals we [tried] to play offside in a position where we should never play offside.”
Wenger, whose side now face an uphill battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League with 10 games to play, admitted his frustration at the result but called on the Gunners to keep fighting until the death.
“It’s very frustrating but we have to put the energy in every game like we did today and keep going,” said Wenger.
“You never know. It would be absolutely terrible not to continue to fight like mad because there were a lot of positives in the game.
“But what happened today was repeated so many times this season in the big games that of course it’s difficult…
“It doesn’t help today, but let’s continue to fight and win our games. We dropped points that we couldn’t afford to drop. I cannot fault the attitude and the energy level we produced.
“But we’re not efficient in those decisive zones, at the back and up front.”