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Wenger regrets 'cheap goals'

"The way we gave the ball away is beyond understanding," said Arsène Wenger after Arsenal FC drew 2-2 with FC Barcelona while Josep Guardiola asked his side to be "more attentive".

Wenger regrets 'cheap goals'
Wenger regrets 'cheap goals' ©UEFA.com

Arsène Wenger said that conceding "cheap goals" have given his side a tough task after drawing the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-finals 2-2 with FC Barcelona, though praised his side's mental strength in coming back from two down to stay in the tie for Tuesday's return. His counterpart, Josep Guardiola, said his side had played their best football under him in Europe and looked forward to finishing the job at Camp Nou.

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
It was a very difficult start. They could have scored a few goals in the first 20 minutes. We lost the ball too quickly, but in fairness to the players they stayed resilient and kept going. They missed chances and we missed some unbelievable chances as well. In the end it was a 2-2 draw. The regret I have tonight is, and I don't deny we did play against a great side, but we gave away two cheap goals. I believe the way we gave the ball away today is beyond understanding.

We gave them too much room to play at the start but my players deserve a lot of credit because they kept in the tie against a great team. If you have no mental strength you are liable to go 5-0 down but we came back to draw 2-2. My only regret is the two cheap goals we gave away. I'm convinced we would have won had we not given away two cheap goals. A part of their superiority was down to our inhibition at the start of the game when we gave them too much room. I don't deny we were comprehensively outplayed but most of the shots Barcelona had were in the first part of the game and then the challenge was that, at 2-0 down, we had to come out and then you can be caught with another goal.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
Last season we won every title on offer but in the Champions League we never played as well as we did tonight. We had a really big opportunity [to win the game] and we didn't take advantage of it. To have controlled the game as we did fills me with pride. We felt we did everything we could in order to take a big step to qualifying for the next round but at this level the teams are so strong.

I don't accept that we dropped down a level in the last 20 minutes – we should have been concentrating more during that period but we weren't.
[Arsenal] are a very dynamic team with great players who are always hungry to have the ball and in the first half we didn't let them have it. We're happy with the result – we scored twice away from home – but what we will take from this game is that we must be more attentive because if we don't put in a good performance at the Camp Nou we'll be out. We always knew that the tie would be decided at our stadium.