LONDON:Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal have lacked focus this season in the Champions League and said that his team could also be “suspected” of failing to take Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb sufficiently seriously.Two shocking defeats already in the League have left Arsenal bottom of Group F ahead of tomorrow’s match against Bayern Munich, a team who have begun their domestic league season with nine straight wins and who have won both European games so far.It all means that Arsenal may well need to beat Bayern at the Emirates tomorrow to retain any hope of qualifying for the last 16 for what would be a 16th straight year. “We have some ground to make up in Europe,” said Wenger. “Our focus has been much stronger in the Premier League than Europe. We know in this game that the focus must be the same as in the Premier League.
“We maybe could be a little suspected of not taking the first two games at the level of not taking the opponent seriously enough. This is not the threat this team. The concentration in the Premier League needs to be so high sometimes it takes too much energy out of us.”
Asked if it was easier to focus against a team of Bayern’s calibre, Wenger said: “We know we play a top side, maybe subconsciously [it makes a difference]. I think we prepared well against Zagreb and Olympiakos. It is between two Premier League games where we had to give a lot. Tomorrow I think everybody will be fully focussed.”
Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern in 2013 and 2014 but Wenger feels his team have improved and that the German champions cannot be considered superior to the side of 2012-13 that went on to win the competition.
We are better equipped,” said Wenger. “We played great Bayern teams, at least as good as the one tomorrow, and beat them. They had Robben and Ribery at full power, Schweinsteiger in the middle. There is no team without weaknesses. If you ask me to come out with them, I would not do that.
“Pep Guardiola has done a magnificent job at Barca and now very well at Bayern. He is a very good manager. He has a positive philosophy in his game. He gets his teams to play, you respect highly that. It’s not easy. I encourage every manager who has this philosophy.”
Wenger confirmed that he intended to start Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil tomorrow, while Petr Cech will play his first Champions League match of the season. David Opsina has started in this competition until now but has a shoulder injury.
Asked if Arsenal had to beat Bayern either this week or in Munich in a fortnight, Wenger said: “That is a realistic statement.”