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Wenger: most disappointing defeat

PUBLISHED: 12:35 08 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 07 September 2010

Arsene Wenger felt his side never played after they were humiliated by Manchester United in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final at The Emirates on Tuesday night, writes Jem Maidment. The Arsenal manager vowed before the game they would p

Arsene Wenger felt his side "never played" after they were humiliated by Manchester United in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final at The Emirates on Tuesday night, writes Jem Maidment.

The Arsenal manager vowed before the game they would produce a "magnificent'" performance, but two goals in three minutes from Ji-Sung Park and Cristiano Ronaldo killed the tie after just 11 minutes, with United already leading 1-0 from the first leg.

Ronaldo added his second after a lightning break in the second half to make it 3-0 to United on the night.

The home side pulled one back through a Robin van Persie penalty after Darren Fletcher was harshly sent off for bringing down Cesc Fabregas, but an experienced United side were streets ahead as they took the tie 4-1 on aggregate.

"It's the most disappointing defeat," said Wenger, who has now been knocked out by Premier League rivals Chelsea, Liverpool and United in the past six seasons.

"The fans were up for a big night and to disappoint people - it really hurts. The most difficult thing for me is that we have the feeling that we never played in the semi-final.

"We started quite well but the most disappointing thing was that the game was over before it started. That's hard to swallow.

"We can only look at ourselves. It's disappointing to fight such a long way and then to give the game away like we did. We don't blame individuals."

Victorious United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, whose side could become the first since AC Milan in 1990 to retain Europe's premier trophy, admitted he had sympathy for Wenger.

"I know exactly how he feels," he said. "When you work as hard as he does he deserves success.

"The problem for Arsene and myself is that the longer you are in the game the more labels are attached to you. Success or failure.

"If you are not winning you are useless, if you are winning you're great."

United's French international defender Patrice Evra was not so charitable: "In the first half we sometimes had the impression it was we 11 men against 11 children," he said.


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