Wenger satisfied with below-par Gunners

November 7, 2007

Arsene Wenger admitted his young Arsenal side had produced only an 'average' attacking display as they secured the point they needed to reach the last 16 of the Champions League following a dire goalless draw against Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic.

A much-changed Gunners side - without rested key man Cesc Fabregas - were unable to breakdown the hosts, who had let in seven at Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago.

Manuel Almunia made a fine save late on to deny Zdenek Senkerik as Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to 26 games in all competitions.

It was the first time this season Arsenal had drawn a blank.

Wenger was in charge of a Champions League fixture for the 100th time and accepted it would not live long in the memory.

'The result is quite positive because we qualified and did not concede. We came here to qualify,' he said.

'The defensive performance was good, but the offensive performance was average.'

The Arsenal manager added: 'The conditions were difficult and Slavia defended very well. They felt humiliated after the 7-0 and were determined not to conceded.

'Our tempo was not high enough to create space for chances.'

'We are through and can play better than tonight, but the overall performance of the team has been outstanding.'

Wenger refused to blame the drop in performance on his rookies.

'I would not like to blame the youngsters tonight because it was very difficult to find our game,' he said.

'I am convinced they have learned it is difficult away from home in the Champions League and they will do better in the next games.'

The Arsenal manager would not rule out more changes for the next two European fixtures, which continue in Sevilla where a win would secure top spot.

Wenger said: 'We have two games to go, we are qualified so I might continue to rotate if I feel it is needed.'

He added: 'To finish top is important.

'The second game is at home, and you play the team second in another group, so it is a double advantage.'

Slavia coach Karel Jarolim was delighted with his side's performance tonight given their horror show at Emirates two weeks ago.

'We wanted to avoid the mistakes of the first match and play more aggressively,' he said.

'We managed that and during the whole 90 minutes Arsenal did not have a clear chance.

'We played as a team and worked hard. This time we were closer to the win, but could not take our chances.'

Jarolim added: 'Arsenal did not play their strongest line-up, but those who did play showed their quality.

'However, it was a mental boost to us when we saw the changes before kick-off.'