Wednesday , August 4 2021
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‘Sad’ Wenger defends Ozil after Atletico defeat

Madrid, Spain | AFP | Arsene Wenger was left devastated by Arsenal’s Europa League defeat to Atletico Madrid on Thursday but made a staunch defence of midfielder Mesut Ozil.

Ozil’s performance was heavily criticised by former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, who said the German had cried “crocodile tears” after the game, and was “not fit to wear the shirt”.

Diego Costa’s strike proved decisive at the Wanda Metropolitano where a 1-0 victory secured Atletico a 2-1 win on aggregate and a place in the final against Marseille.

Defeat ends Wenger’s hopes of leaving Arsenal on a high as his team missed out on a shot at a major trophy and squandered their last chance to qualify for the Champions League.

“I’m very sad tonight,” Wenger said. “Unfortunately you have to go through that — the game can be very cruel, sometimes very nice, but the suffering is very strong tonight.

“Looking at the chances over the two games the least we could say is we are very frustrated. The tie should have been over in the first game.”

It remains to be seen how another season outside Europe’s premier tournament will affect Arsenal’s search both for a new coach, and new signings, this summer.

“The club now has to think about what to do for next season,” Wenger said. “I think there are some good ingredients in our team and they will bounce back. With the right additions in the summer I think they can compete next year.”

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