Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger was left to rue a minute of lost concentration that cost his side victory in last night’s top of the table clash with Manchester United.
Thierry Henry had scored twice to put the Gunners 2-1 ahead after being a goal down, but they then lost their lead barely a minute later courtesy of a Ryan Giggs header.
“We got back to 1-1 and then 2-1 but the big, big regret tonight is that we dropped our concentration a little bit,” said a disappointed Wenger afterwards.
“I am convinced that if we would have kept the lead for two or three minutes we would have won the game. But I am pleased with the response of my team in the second half and the mental determination we showed.”
Wenger has also been dealt two major blows that could hit his side’s push for the Double. Patrick Viera came off after half an hour with a reccurence of his knee problem and Sol Campbell faces a four match ban, including the FA Cup final after being sent off.
“He (Viera) was not himself on the pitch that is why I brought him of,” says Wenger. “I can’t say when Patrick will be back. But what we are doing is the wrong solution – putting him in and out, in and out. We must rest him until he is completely free of pain.”
“He does not need an operation, it is in inflammation from a kick he got. Bone bruising can last four, five six weeks, up to three months. There is never a good time to lose Patrick but it is unfair to put him on the pitch and tell him to play.”
Wenger was extremely disappointed with Campbell’s dismissal for elbowing Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, describing it as “a joke”
“Everyone who knows him in the dressing-room knows that he didn’t touch Solskjaer on purpose,” said Wenger.
“I can show you some straight elbows against us, which were really dangerous, but this was definitely an accidental one. I’m very disappointed.
“In training, I’ve seen him in extreme situations. He doesn’t hit or kick anyone. It’s a complete joke.”
Meanwhile, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is becoming concerned that too many player’s are using their arms illegally and hopes action will soon be taken.
“It’s happening far too often,” said Ferguson.
“I can see someone getting a serious injury soon.”
Both managers are agreed, however, that the result means that the title race will go right until the end of the season.
“I think it’s going to go to the wire. Arsenal have scored more than us – we have to do something about that,” Ferguson said.
“We’ve got four games left and they are all tough. Arsenal have five left and two or three of them are tough – the pot is still boiling very strongly.”
Wenger concurred with his opposite number and is still confident his side can finish top.
“It is exactly the same as before the game. We have not caught up on Manchester United and it is open. It now down to the team who does the best in the next four games and that we make it quite interesting for you and me. I think we have a very good chance still.”