x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Arsenal were just not good enough, says Arsene Wenger

The Arsenal manager admits their start to the season has been terrible after the score two own goals and lose 4-3 at Blackburn.

Arsene Wenger summed up Arsenal's start to the Premier League season in one word yesterday: "Terrible".

Wenger's men had been in control at Blackburn Rovers at half time, leading 2-1 with chances aplenty, before they crumbled to a 4-3 defeat including two own-goals from Alex Song and Laurent Koscielny.

It means the Gunners have just four points from five games, their worst start since Wenger came to the club in 1996. They have also conceded 14 goals, more than any other side in the top flight.

"It is just not good enough," said Wenger. "Of course we are very frustrated, the spirit in the team is quite willing but if you look at the number of goals we have conceded that is not good enough.

"You cannot come here and concede four goals the way we did today. On the other hand I believe that the group will take off but it's important that we get quick results."

The defeat is likely to spark further questions about Wenger's future at the club, but he refused to be drawn into a debate.

"Speculation is part of modern life, what can I do about that?" he said. "My future is focusing on what I do well and that means giving my best for the club."

Arsenal had impressed in the first half with Gervinho and Mikel Arteta scoring their first goals for the club either side of a neat Yakubu finish.

The second half was a different story - after the own goals, Yakubu struck from close range for his second and at that point Blackburn had still only had two shots on goal but were 4-2 up.

Wenger admitted his defence's frailty was a big worry.

He added: "You cannot say you have no worry when you see the performance we have put in today. It's just not defensively solid enough when you are 2-1 in front against Blackburn and you know if you are solid enough defensively you will score goals.

"At the moment we do not have the capability to focus defensively to win games like that."

For Steve Kean, the Rovers manager, there was the satisfaction of silencing the 200 fans who marched outside Ewood Park before kick off calling for him to be fired.

"I have said I was disappointed with that," said Kean. "The most important thing is 99 per cent of the fans didn't demonstrate and hopefully even the one per cent that did will go home happy. I don't mean to be bullish but I can only reiterate the backing I have had from the owners and the players. You don't play like that if you have any type of split or division in the dressing room. We feel the criticism we have had has been a little bit unfair."

Kean also praised Yakubu for two goals on his debut. "The Yak brings experience and know-how and he's clever," he said. "People have a go at him for not moving but he's saving his energy and then when he does go he's very effective."