- Arsene Wenger extols Arsenal's qualities in the defeat to Barcelona
- He cries over his club always has to play the big clubs in the round-of-16
- He regrets his team's inability to take their chances in the match
Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has discussed his team’s 3 – 1 defeat to Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.
Neymar opened the scoring for the hosts before Elneny equalized for Arsenal but Barcelona struck back through first Leo Messi and later Luis Suarez.
Arsenal were defeated 2 – 0 in the first leg in London with Messi grabbing both goals.
Speaking after the second leg, Wenger touched on his team’s inspired performance in the second leg, Mathieu Flamini’s injury and his regrets in the match.
On his team’s inspired performance, he said that:
“It was a team performance and the quality was good. I’m disappointed with the result but we played against a team with the best strikers I have seen play together.
“It is exceptional, they can make chances from nothing.
“We could not take our chances to [find] a second goal that would put us in a strong position tonight but after they scored and it was 2-1, our belief was less than when it was 1-1.
“We had chances and Barcelona are an exceptional side.”
Wenger regrets Arsenal always face the big guns in the round of 16,
“I could give you all the stats if you are dramatic enough to read the stats.
“They showed that we suffered but that should not be considered game by game. In football, you look the last game and you look at the positives.
“We have gone out in the last six years to top sides who won the Champions League after. On one occasion we lost to Monaco but the others are always against Bayern Munich or Barcelona.”
On his team’s profligacy and Messi’s performance, Wenger said that:
“We could have taken the dangerous situations we created. Barcelona, going forward in the final third with the quality of passing and creativity, Messi was absolutely exceptional.
“He went for 90 minutes and came out of the game without missing a first touch, no matter where the ball came from. Barcelona have two or three players who can transform normal life into art.”
On FLamini’s injury, he said:
“He was injured. He had treatment, then after I don’t know.”
Wenger has now been eliminated from the Champions League at the round of 16 stage for the last six seasons. The Gunners face Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday as they hope to revive their fading title chances.