Arsenal boss Wenger admits making tactical error against Man United after seeming to lose support of fans & skipper Van Persie
Arsene Wenger has admitted he made a mistake with his crucial second-half substitution in Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United but explained that he had good reason to replace rookie Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with Andrey Arshavin.
Frustrated? Arsenal skipper Robin van Persie during Sunday's EPL match against Man United. Pic/Getty Images
The Gunners manager's decision to withdraw the excellent Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 74th minute shortly after the teenager had set-up Robin van Persie's goal was greeted with jeers at the Emirates Stadium.
Even Arsenal skipper Van Persie looked at odds with his manager on the decision, appearing to mouth "no" when the board noting Oxlade-Chamberlain's exit was raised by the fourth official.
The move backfired, with Arsenal losing their attacking impetus down the left flank with Arshavin's arrival. The Russian then let Valencia slip by him at the other end, allowing the Ecuadorian to cross for Danny Welbeck to tap home United's winner.
Wenger said: "When it was 1-1 it looked like we would win but in the end, one tactical mistake lost us the game.
"I do not want to dwell too much on that now, but one second of inattention can cost you. "I can understand that the fans are upset and frustrated about the decision, especially when it doesn't work.
That means that you made the right decision at the start of the game. He (Oxlade-Chamberlain) had started to fatigue and stretch his calf. He was sick during the week. Arshavin is the captain of the Russia national team and he is replacing a guy of 17 or 18 who is starting his first or second (Premier League) game.
"People pay for their tickets and are free to express their emotions. It doesn't mean they are right always. "I have to stand up for the substitutions I make. I don't have to explain every single decision. I'm 30 years in the job, I have made 50,000 substitutions. I do not have to explain myself to you."
Arsenal supporters urged Wenger to spend some of the �50 million transfer kitty at his disposal at the final whistle but the Frenchman said: "Spending money is not the target.
"Buying good players is the target. We need our own players back. People are not conscious that we miss 10 players."