Wenger reflects on mistakes

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Arsene Wenger admits his major failing this campaign has been underestimating the effect of missing out on last season's Premier League title was going to have on his players.

Last season the Gunners were firing on all cylinders until mid-February when they imploded, and won just one of their next eight matches to relinquish their title ambitions.

When asked what errors he has made this season, he said: "They aren't so much in the choices of my team - I've been picking teams for 35 years and even if I'm not flawless, I still know what I'm doing. But I perhaps made the mistake of underestimating the ill-fated effects of last season and notably the loss of the title."

He added: "In the close season, I asked myself a lot of questions about the influence that could be brought about by the disappointment of the loss of the championship in the last two months.

"And then we lost Alexandr Hleb, Mathieu Flamini (who left in the summer) and Tomas Rosicky (to long-term injury). I had to rebuild the midfield.

"The (Emmanuel) Adebayor incident (the striker was unwilling to commit his future to Arsenal) has equally been an important factor. All this came together and our game wasn't there. Even people who love Arsenal were saying, 'This is a disaster'."

Wenger stands by his decision to replace departed holding midfielders Flamini and Gilberto Silva with youngsters Alex Song and Denilson, rather than buying more established players.

Arsenal were linked with moves for Aston Villa's Gareth Barry and Liverpool's Xabi Alonso last summer.

"Firstly I really thought he (Flamini) was going to stay," Wenger continued.

"Also, I believed and still believe in (Abou) Diaby, Song and Denilson. People have reproached me for not having bought Barry or Xabi Alonso but I am a prisoner of my policies - buying Barry or Alonso is to kill Song, Diaby and Denilson."

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Gareth Barry
Gilberto Silva
Premier League
Xabi Alonso
Tomas Rosicky
Aston Villa
Mathieu Flamini
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