Pep Guardiola has questioned Arsene Wenger’s analysis of Arsenal’s Champions League elimination by claiming the reality is that Arsenal did not even string “three passes in a row” during the second leg.
The Barcelona coach admitted he understood Wenger’s rage about Robin van Persie’s red card but believes it detracts from a wonderful display by his own team.
“I have got sympathy because I love how this team [Arsenal] and the way they play,” Guardiola said in his post-match press conference. “I don't know how they will analyse it in the end, they may analyse that they lost because it was 10 versus 11. It depends. Or they can be objective.
"I can understand [their view]," he added, "that they are out of the quarter-final because of the card for Van Persie. If they believe that, then okay. But the reality is they didn’t have three passes in a row.
“We have had almost 70 per cent of ball possession, they have played in the back, not shot on goal at all and not had three passes in a row. Of course with players like [Samir] Nasri and Cesc [Fabregas] they have great players. Only [Alex] Song was not there.
“The only way they can grow is to think about the bad things they have done and improve. We have played great 11 against 11 and great 11 against 10. They are nearly leaders of the Premier League and did not have a shot on goal, which says a lot."
Arsenal's goal came in somewhat fortuitous fashion, as Sergio Busquets headed the ball past Victor Valdes from a Nasri corner to put the Gunners in front on aggregate, and Guardiola insists that not only could his side have won by a clearer margin, they dominated both legs.
“If you analyse the game 11 against 11, we have managed to totally dominate the game. I perfectly understand his complaints. In the future we might sit down together to watch both legs. Maybe my feelings are too fresh but we have been better than them," he continued.
“We could have won the tie by a much bigger margin. If [Javier] Mascherano hadn’t run 20 yards faster than Bendtner [at the end], we would be out. We have created many chances. We shouldn’t have been in that situation.”
Guardiola also questioned the defensive set-up of Wenger’s team in the Camp Nou compared to 12 months ago.
“I think they attacked less than last year,” the Barca coach said. “Maybe they played to keep the result 2-1. It is a good question for Mr Wenger. He knows better than me."