Wenger, Gallas: Luck, decisions cost Gunners glory

April 14, 2008

Arsene Wenger remains bitter about the derailing of Arsenal's season, citing outside forces and a run of bad luck but insists his main priority is to keep his current Arsenal group together, and adding only 'one experienced player' - if they can find him at the right price.

The inquest may have already begun into just why Arsenal failed to deliver again this season and what must be done to close the gap on big-spending United and Chelsea next year, but Wenger maintains his squad does not need major surgery.

However, the futures of veterans Jens Lehmann and Gilberto - both part of the 2003-04 `Invincibles' squad - look likely to be elsewhere, while a new deal has yet to be agreed with out-of-contract midfielder Mathieu Flamini as Juventus wait in the wings.

'The main target is to keep the team together because we are absolutely amazing,' insisted Wenger.

'I feel the difference between being champion and winning the Champions League is very close.

'I am very proud of my team and I believe we have to continue next season what we are doing.

'We will continue to play the way we do but better. The trophies will come.'

However, the Arsenal manager cannot help but reflect again on what might have been.

'Back in the last two months, even with decisions again on Sunday, we are not very happy and very unlucky,' Wenger said.

'You got a clear message since March. We got it, we are not stupid in the dressing room. We got it very well.

'For the rest, everyone is free now to think what they want.'

Crucial decisions - such as penalties which were given one way yet not the other over the two legs of their Champions League quarter-final defeat to Liverpool - have also not fallen for Arsenal as a campaign which promised so much quickly unravelled.

And captain William Gallas is in no doubt that had such marginal calls gone in favour of his side, then the Gunners would have plenty of reasons to celebrate come May.

'You can play well, but if the luck is not there, then you will win nothing,' Gallas told Arsenal TV Online.

'The luck went from us a few months ago. People have to understand that.

'We drew too many games at home, and away we lost important points.'

The Arsenal captain admitted there would now be some soul-searching for answers.

Gallas continued: 'For a few months it has been difficult for us to react to conceding a goal, we have been going down very quick.

'When the season started we were not like this and I don't know why we have been in trouble now after scoring a goal. We have to work on that for next season.'

French defender Gallas, however, insists some positives can be salvaged from a campaign.

'What is very positive from last season is we should finish third in the Premier League, we went to the quarter-final of the Champions League, so we have improved,' he insisted.

'However we cannot accept just that because when the season started we wanted to win everything, but then slowly, slowly we started to lose.

'Now at the end, we do not get anything. That is a great shame for the club.

'We have to speak together and to know what was wrong.

'We are not far away, but we will have to see what we can do next season.

'I hope we can get something. I am a competitor and want to win everything. You remember only the people who win trophies.

'For the fans and the club, it is important to get some cups.

'Now we just have to be professional and finish this season well.'