Angry Wenger mystified by his dismissal

November 27, 2007

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had few complaints about his side's Champions League defeat to Sevilla tonight - but he was far from happy about the 'absolutely shocking' conduct of the fourth official at the match after being sent from the dug-out.

A youthful Arsenal side suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of a dominant Sevilla, who joined the already-qualified Gunners in booking their spot in the last 16.

Wenger watched the closing stages of the match at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan from beside the advertising hoardings near the tunnel.

The Arsenal boss was given his marching orders, after feeling aggrieved at what he felt was time-wasting by Sevilla captain Daniel Alves.

'I'm not upset at all; I'm upset that we lost the game, that's all,' said Wenger.

'The player was down, and when the guy [physio] came on the pitch he stood up - and two minutes later he was sprinting.

'Therefore I have been sent off. The referee came to see me, and I asked him why I was sent off. He said he would explain after the game, and that is what happened. He could not give me any other reason.'

Asked if that caused a problem with the fourth official, who appeared to want Wenger to move away from his position by the tunnel, the Arsenal boss added: 'The fourth official was very busy tonight throughout the game - that is the minimum you can say.

'I have played 100 games in the Champions League and I must say his behaviour was absolutely shocking.

'Where did he want me to go? I couldn't go in the stand.

'That is my opinion. I do not want us to talk about this for two hours tonight - there was a football game tonight.'

Sevilla replaced Arsenal in top spot with the victory, and it will come down to the final round of matches to decide who finishes in pole position.

In those games, Arsenal host bottom side Steaua Bucharest - and Sevilla go to Slavia Prague.

Arsenal, who had not lost a competitive fixture since the beginning of April, were given a flying start to the match when striker Eduardo da Silva put them ahead in the 11th minute.

But Sevilla struck back with first-half strikes from Seydou Keita and Luis Fabiano - the first goals conceded by Arsenal in this season's Champions League - before former Tottenham striker Fredi Kanoute added a third from the penalty spot late on.

Wenger, who made seven changes to the side that started against Wigan at the weekend, admits the better team won.

'I feel Sevilla deserved to win the game - and congratulations to them,' he said.

Sevilla came into the match having lost back-to-back Primera Liga matches, and coach Manolo Jimenez was delighted to see them bounce back against Arsenal.

He said: 'It's been a magnificent performance today by the team.

'It's not the first time this season Sevilla have turned in a performance like that; we did it in the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid, against Real Madrid in the league and in other Champions League matches.

'To do it after going a goal down is even better, and I hope we can continue like that in the rest of the season.'

Jimenez, whose side lost 2-1 to Real Mallorca at the weekend, added: 'It's much easier to come back against a team like Arsenal, who still attack when they are 1-0 up, than against a team like Mallorca - who sometimes waste time when they are leading.'