Wenger reveals ‘horrendous’ team atmosphere that rocked Arsenal’s season
After end-of-season win over Everton, Gunners boss says he will 'one day' reveal details of crisis that led to run of poor results in January
21 May, 2017 — By Tom Foot
ARSENAL 3, EVERTON 1
ARSENE Wenger this afternoon promised to one day reveal details of an internal crisis that rocked his squad mid-season and cost his side a Champions League place for the first time in 20 years.
The Arsenal manager said a “horrendous” atmosphere had spread through the team and contributed to a string of poor results around January.
He would not be drawn on which individuals were to blame but accepted he was ultimately responsible.
Speaking after the 3-1 win against Everton, which left the Gunners fifth and outside the Champions League qualification places, Wenger said: “Overall I believe we played in January in a very difficult environment, some of you know about some of it. The psychological environment for the players was horrendous.”
When asked for more details, he said: “I will give you an answer one day.”
Wenger said he regretted that the problems had got on top of his players as a team and that a sign of “professionalism” was performing “when an environment is negative”.
He said he was “very sad” not to make the Champions League after 20 consecutive years in Europe’s premier tournament, adding: “If I leave this club I will love this club until the last day of my life.
“This group is good enough to come back. But first we have to keep 90 per cent of these players together. We don’t need many, maybe one or two.”
Wenger will be forced to field a makeshift defence against Chelsea in the FA Cup final next weekend after Laurent Koscielny was sent off and Gabriel was stretchered away injured.
The Arsenal captain upended Enner Valencia with a reckless lunge on 14 minutes. Wenger said Gabriel was unlikely to recover in time for Wembley.
Aaron Ramsey left fans with an end-of-season gift when he curled a peach into the top corner in injury time.
Bellerin and Alexis Sanchez scored crisply struck goals from close range in the first half, while Romelu Lukaku smashed in a penalty after handball from Nacho Monreal on 58 minutes.
ARSENAL: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny (sent off, 14), Holding, Gabriel (Mertesacker, 53), Monreal, Xhaka (Coquelin, 61), Ozil, Ramsey, Sanchez (Iwobi, 67), Welbeck.
Subs not used: Giroud, Ospina, Elneny, Walcott.
Tickets sold: 59,976.