Arsene Wenger says international duty not an excuse
Arsene Wenger admitted his Arsenal side were second best against Norwich, as the Gunners crashed to a surprise 1-0 defeat at Carrow Road.
A first-half goal from Grant Holt was enough to secure a valuable win for Norwich, who had significantly less possession than their visitors but battled hard for the three points.
It was Arsenal's second Premier League defeat in three games and Wenger conceded his players had not been good enough against a side with the second-worst defence in the division.
"Norwich had a good defensive performance, were focused and committed," Wenger said. "We had a lot of the ball, but did not create much with it, which was a disappointing performance for us.
"I felt we lacked a bit of sharpness. We missed what makes the success at the top level, that is complete focus and they were sharper than us. We do not blame anybody, made many mistakes today. We have to put that performance behind us and realise that is not good enough.
"The attitude of the team has been excellent, but that was not at the level of what we have produced until now, it was the first time of the season we were way below par. We have to come out with a difference performance in the Champions League game [against Schalke] on Wednesday night.''
Jack Wilshere was included in Arsenal's squad for the first time in 17 months at Carrow Road but despite Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming off injured and likely to miss this week's Champions League tie against Schalke, Wenger said the returning midfielder will probably not be back in action until the Capital One Cup clash with Reading.
"I would have brought him on if the game had allowed it today, but it was too intense," Wenger said. "He will play on Monday with the reserves and then we will see where we go from there.''
For Norwich, there was much more a sense of satisfaction after battling to a first league win under Hughton.
The Canaries manager said: "This has been a long time coming, which our performances have warranted. However, this league is unforgiving. I am delighted for the team, because the work-rate was outstanding and there is no coincidence in the result.
"We could have caught them on the counter more and made life easier for ourselves towards the end, but overall we restricted them and so it was a very satisfactory performance. We have deserved this by our play this season so far, so it is a very good feeling to get the win here at Carrow Road for the supporters.''