Fulham 0 Arsenal 1: We were sloppy, admits Arsene Wenger
Fulham 0 Arsenal 1: Arsene Wenger concedes Gunners were far from at their best despite important victory at Craven Cottage
Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal were far from at their best after the Gunners boosted their Champions League qualification hopes with victory at Fulham.
Fulham had to play 78 minutes with 10 men after Steve Sidwell was sent off for a dangerous lunge on Mikel Arteta early on at Craven Cottage.
The Gunners took the lead when Per Mertesacker nodded home in the 43rd minute in west London.
However, it was a disjointed display by the north Londoners, who were also reduced to 10 men when Olivier Giroud was shown a straight red card for a foul on Stanislav Manolev in the 90th minute.
And Wenger, whose side moved up to third place in the table above Chelsea and Tottenham, admitted Arsenal faded after the break.
“We had a positive first half but in the second half we became sloppy with our passing and played with less pace to our game,” said Wenger, whose side have now won eight of their last 10 Premier League games.
“You have to give Fulham credit; they are a good side and they played very well. It became hard in the second half.
“We played with the handbrake on and tried to keep the lead without taking risks. We didn’t give them enough problems. We lost pace and quality.”
Meanwhile, Fulham boss Martin Jol blamed referee Andre Marriner for “spoiling” the game by giving Sidwell his marching orders.
“I would not have given the red card [against Sidwell] but I am not subjective,” said Jol.
“I think it was a mistimed tackle but he caught the guy. It wasn’t his intention.
“It spoiled the game a bit but we fought like lions and had better chances than them. In the first half we did ever so well but conceded a soft goal.”