Wenger hits back at Mertesacker criticism: We train very hard

The Germany international criticised the club’s start to the season after Wednesday’s narrow win over Anderlecht and admitted he and his team-mates need to work harder

Arsene Wenger has hit back at criticism from Per Mertesacker after the defender insisted Arsenal need to “train harder”.

The Germany international hit out at Arsenal’s start to the campaign after Wednesday’s narrow 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Champions League and admitted that the team’s style of football is not giving teams enough problems.

But Wenger has refuted Mertesacker’s observations, although he concedes Arsenal have not been “efficient enough” this term.

“I don’t know what he meant by that. But you have to be careful with statements after the game. I think we train very hard, the attitude is right and the spirit is there,” Wenger told reporters.

“Until now we have been relatively consistent in our attitude but not efficient enough offensively or defensively.

“We lost only two games but we have not made enough points.”

Late goals from Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski handed Arsenal victory over the Belgian champions but the sub-par display sparked Mertesacker’s scathing analysis of the team’s approach this season.

“We are not at our best. Football-wise we lack a few things. We have to be honest to ourselves and train harder,” said the 30-year-old.
“Everyone knows that it is a difficult start to the season for us and confidence is not how we want it.

“I think we have to do better with our own possession, to put more pressure on them [opponents], not to lose so many balls in the middle of the park, to play more in wide areas.

“I think it is better to expose them there, instead of playing one-twos through the middle. It doesn’t work as much as last season, so we have to work on that. The passing game is not as efficient as last year. But all of a sudden we lose players week-by-week.”

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