STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Bayern Munich coach Ancelotti backs Wenger to beat Arsenal slump

Wenger's 20-year reign as Arsenal coach is under pressure after their mauling at Thiago Alcantara-inspired Bayern.

Published: 16th February 2017 09:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th February 2017 09:05 AM   |  A+A-

Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti | AP

By AFP

MUNICH: Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti has backed under-fire Arsene Wenger to lead Arsenal out of their slump, despite their "sensational" 5-1 Champions League thrashing in Germany. 

Wenger's 20-year reign as Arsenal coach is under pressure after their mauling at Thiago Alcantara-inspired Bayern.

The Gunners had few answers to the hosts' second-half display at the Allianz Arena and face an uphill battle for the last 16, second leg tie on March 7.

But Ancelotti believes the Frenchman has the experience to pull Arsenal out of the mire as they stare down the barrel of a seventh last-16 exit in consecutive seasons.

"This is football, Arsene has the experience to manage this result and move forward -- this is only one game," said Ancelotti, who oversaw his 148th European game.

After Alex Ferguson, who coached in 198 Champions League matches, Wenger has the second highest number of European games under his belt with 183.

Bayern extended their Champions League record to 16 home wins by flooring the Gunners with three goals in ten second-half minutes.

'Perfect' Thiago

Arjen Robben gave Bayern the lead after 10 minutes with a curling shot from outside the area. 

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez equalised when he drilled home a penalty at the second attempt as it finished 1-1 at the break.

But Bayern hit top gear after the interval.

Robert Lewandowski restored the lead with a powerful header before Thiago added two more in a devsatating ten minute spell.

Thomas Mueller came off the bench for Lewandowski to net their fifth two minutes from time to complete Arsenal's misery.

Ancelotti hailed it as Bayern's best performance since he replaced Pep Guardiola as head coach this season.

He proclaimed Thiago's magnificent 90 minutes in the attacking midfield role as "perfect".

"Thiago played really well, we put him in the position between their lines. It meant he closed them down and gave us more space," said Ancelotti.

"His performance was really good -– he was perfect.

"It’s the best performance since I have been here, but it's not the final, we still have another game –- unfortunately."

The Italian said the focus is now on completing the job in the second leg, which would see Bayern knock Arsenal out in the last 16 for the fourth time.

Dreaming of Cardiff

"The result was really important and we have the advantage, but we don’t want to make a mistake," said Ancelotti.

"We want to play like we did tonight with the same intensity, the same spirit and the same tempo, because we don’t want to give ourselves problems."

The result matched the 5-1 group-stage thrashing Arsenal received in Munich in November 2015 -- the club's joint record away defeat in Europe.

Robben also admitted he was surprised by the margin.

"Things worked very well," said the Dutch winger.

"I am a bit surprised that we played so well, but on the other hand, I know the team has great character and can move up a gear when it matters."

Bayern's captain Philipp Lahm, who like Xabi Alonso, will retire in June, said the first-leg result should be enough to reach the quarter-finals for the sixth year in a row. 

"Before the penalty, we were very good, then not very good until half-time, but sensational after that," said Lahm, who is suspended for the second leg after a booking.

"We used our quality in terms of possession and created the goals at the right time.

"A 5-1 should be enough for the return leg."

The brutal domination of Bayern's second-half display left Chile midfieder Arturo Vidal dreaming of the Cardiff final on June 3. 

"It would be a dream to win the Champions League," said Vidal, who lost the 2015 final with Juventus against Barcelona.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp