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Saturday 22 March 2014

Chelsea match was one of my worst, admits Wenger

Arsenal manager takes full responsiblity as 1,000th match ended in 6-0 defeat

Arsene Wenger, left, took full responsibility for the heavy defeat by Chelsea

Arsene Wenger called his 1,000th match in charge of Arsenal one of the worst of his long career after their 6-0 defeat away to Chelsea.

The landmark fixture at Stamford Bridge for the Frenchman turned into a nightmare as Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea ran riot in a one-sided encounter. Early goals from Samuel Eto'o and Andre Schurrle left Arsenal with a mountain to climb and the visitors then saw Kieran Gibbs sent off after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had handled on the goalline.

"This defeat is my fault, I take full responsibility for it"
Arsene Wenger

Eden Hazard converted the resulting penalty and Chelsea were able to pull further clear, with Oscar scoring twice and Mohamed Salah registering his first for the club.

Wenger failed to show up for his scheduled press conference, with an Arsenal spokesman citing an immediate need to leave the ground. However, the 64-year-old made his disappointment clear in an interview with the BBC.

"This defeat is my fault, I take full responsibility for it," he said. "I don't think there's too much need to talk about the mistakes we made. We got a good hiding. It's how we respond now on Tuesday night [in a home game against Swansea City] and the best way is not to explain too much the mistakes.

"Of course it's one of the worst days [in my career]. [The match] is over after 20 minutes and it's a long game after that. You don't prepare all week to experience that kind of experience."

Mourinho was pleased with the response of his players after the 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa the previous weekend.

"I think we started in an incredible way,” he said. “In seven minutes, [the score is] 2-0 and the game is over. We started very strong.

"We really wanted to try to make Arsenal feel not comfortable, [with] the way they like to play. We managed to do that and [at] 2-0 after seven minutes the game is over because we were too strong for them. After that comes the penalty and the red card, even worse for them, but I think the game was resolved in 10 minutes."

Despite the emphatic victory, Mourinho reiterated his belief that Manchester City, who trail Chelsea by six points with three matches in hand, remain title favourites.

"Man City has everything in their hands," he said before City’s 5-0 victory over Fulham. "Liverpool is one point behind us [if they win their match in hand] but they also have everything in their hands.

"Nobody plays Champions League from the top four, only [Chelsea and] Manchester United. They [City, Liverpool and Arsenal] have just the Premier League matches to play and we have at least two big Champions League matches to play in between."

The only blow for Chelsea on Saturday was a hamstring injury to Eto'o that saw the forward replaced soon after his goal.

"In his experience, he thinks it is not big because he was feeling it and before the big tear he could stop and say 'enough'," Mourinho said.

FT Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal  |  #CHEARS  |  For more go to the Live Match Centre >>

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