Wenger frustrated at ‘lack of energy’

Arsene Wenger has warned his players they cannot even think about winning the title until they improve their performance level in big matches.The Gunners are now seven points behind leaders Manchester United after they failed to break down a 10-man Blackburn at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday despite having numerous shots on goal.

And Wenger was concerned that his players completely failed to perform in such an important game.

“Before we speak about the title we have to come back to a good level of performance,” Wenger said. “We have to raise our level. The performance was not good enough.”

“It was frustrating because we had no pace in our game. Overall it was a flat performance. There was a lack of energy, lack of sharpness and it’s quite a big concern to see what we saw today.”

“I don’t know why. It’s difficult to identify one special thing. We started ok but after that our game became flat and very few players looked to have the resources to pick up the pace in the game.”

“Part of it is down to the fact Blackburn defended well but to be honest it’s more down to our poor performance.”

Blackburn did their survival hopes the power of good with the 0-0 result despite having Steven N’Zonzi controversially sent off.

Manager Steve Kean thought N’Zonzi was unlucky to be sent off by referee Phil Dowd for a two-footed challenge on Laurent Koscielny, but said his side would take a lot of confidence out of the fighting display.

“When I first saw it I thought it looked quite nasty but then I saw it in slow motion and he got a bit of the ball,” Kean said.

“Sometimes it’s red and sometimes it’s yellow. The player is devastated because he’s not a malicious player and he felt he made a genuine attempt at a 50-50 ball. He’s gutted.”

“I believe we can stay up … this result is a very, very important point and a great clean sheet. Now we look forward to the Birmingham game next.”

“This result gives us massive encouragement. It’s going to be so tight and there will be a couple of shocks every week. So it’s about not looking at others and just looking after your own results.”