LONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 12 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had nothing but praise for Lincoln City following the Gunner’s 5-0 FA Cup win over the National League side on Saturday, but could not seem to get over the midweek loss against Bayern.
Goals from Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and an own goal eventually saw Arsenal past Lincoln after the non-league team had kept it scoreless for the opening 40 minutes.
Commenting on Lincoln’s plucky effort, Wenger said, “It was difficult, you could see in the first half they had a very direct game but they had clarity about what they wanted to do and they did that very well. Overall it was important for us not to make a mistake. They had a big crowd behind them as well – they had a chance.”
“Of course I didn’t want to gamble today,” he added. “I wanted to win the game and I felt as well that the team had performed well against Bayer. I wanted to give them a chance to get their confidence back, that’s why I retained 90 percent of players from the starting line-up. It’s always dangerous because confidence can drop quickly.”
Wenger again insisted that his team had been “outstanding” against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, and blamed the referee for “killing” the game.
“We played an outstanding game against Bayern Munich but our game was killed by the referee,” Wenger said. “I’ve watched this game three times and our game was killed by the referee.”
“The first defeat in Bayern I accept, but the last one against Bayern when you are down to 10 men against a team of that quality and you then concede a penalty, it is not a football game any more. The players didn’t let me down, or themselves or the club. It was an outstanding performance as long as we were 11 versus 11.”
Several hundred fans unhappy with Wenger held a #WEXIT (Wenger Exit) protest before the game, the fans urging Arsenal not to give the 67-year-old Frenchman a new contract when his current deal expires in the summer.