Wenger: Top four will be difficult

by Michelle Fortune , 21 January 2013

Arsene Wenger admits that Arsenal face a battle to qualify for next season's Champions League and cannot afford any more slip-ups in the Premier League.

The Gunners have lost already this season with Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea coming on the back of Manchester City's win at the Emirates.

They are currently six points off fourth-placed Tottenham but have the opportunity to reduce the deficit to three when they welcome West Ham to the Emirates on Wednesday night.

Wenger is aware that they cannot afford to lose further ground to their London rivals and admits that they face a battle to qualify for the Champions League.

"The table is the table. We have lost two big games in the last week and that's very damaging for us," Wenger conceded.

"It's very damaging for our position in the league and difficult to swallow.

"We cannot afford to drop points any more if we want to be in the top four. That's a concern."

Juan Mata and Frank Lampard struck to hand Chelsea a 2-0 lead at the interval but Theo Walcott gave the Gunners some hope when he netted in the second half.

Despite sustained pressure in the closing 20 minutes Arsenal were unable to find a way through again and Wenger was left to rue what might have been.

"We had a similar start to Man City last week, didn't defend too well and gave them too much incentive," Wenger said.

"We didn't play well in the first half, but we were much more dangerous in the second half, with a different attitude.

"Unfortunately we didn't make enough of our corners, free-kicks and the chances we created. That's why we lost the game.

"It's very damaging for our position in the league and difficult to swallow.

"The team has fantastic quality and spirit, but we come into the game when we're 2-0 down. At the moment, that's worrying.

"In the big games, once you start 2-0 down it's very difficult."

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