Milan crush Arsenal's Champions League dream
0-4 rout by AC Milan virtually ends Gunners' Champions League dream at San Siro
Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal's humiliating 4-0 defeat to AC Milan on Wednesday in the first leg of their last 16 clash at the San Siro was a "shocking performance" which has shattered his side's Champions League ambitions on.
Humiliated: Arsenal players react after AC Milan's goal in the first leg
of Champions League at San Siro on Wednesday. Pics/Getty image
The Gunners were never in the match as former Tottenham midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng fired the Italians ahead on 15 minutes with a sublime strike, before a brace by ex-Manchester City frontman Robinho and a penalty from the impressive Zlatan Ibrahimovic completed a miserable night for the Gunners, who suffered their worst European defeat.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring the fourth goal
Not even the introduction of former captain Thierry Henry in the final game of his loan spell from New York Red Bulls could spark a fairytale comeback. Wenger, however, must lift his squad again for what is now a crucial FA Cup fifth-round tie at Sunderland on Saturday ahead of the north-London derby with Tottenham when the Gunners will look to keep alive hopes of qualifying again for the Champions League with a top-four finish.
"It was a shocking result and a shocking performance. It was of those nights you ever forget. It is our worst night in Europe. We were punished and deservedly so," said Wenger. "The result is a disaster. We were never in the game; we were very poor offensively and defensively.
"There was not one moment in the 90 minutes we were really in the game, and it was always the same problem, balls over the top and we were well beaten. "It is difficult to analyse, so it is better not to talk too much, to analyse with a cooler header and regroup for the next game."
Fight is on
Wenger continued: "The season is not finished. We have a big game on Saturday and it is a good opportunity to show we have character and mental strength, that we can respond after such a shocking defeat.
"You could blame and blame, but we have to stick together and win the next game.
"A big disappointment like that has consequences on your belief.
"We have a lot of work to regroup and not a lot of time to prepare for Saturday's game, when we need to show something completely different."
For this season, though, the Arsenal manager accepted hopes of European glory have been all but extinguished.