Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has played down the significance of Saturday’s 6-3 thrashing by Manchester City on the Premier League title race.
City are now only three points behind the Gunners at the top of the table but Wenger does not see them as the biggest threat to his side’s title hopes.
“They are one of the teams to beat, but no more than any other we have played until now,” Wenger said afterwards.
“We have played Everton and Southampton and they are as good as City.”
Wenger felt his side’s trip to Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday – a day after City beat Bayern Munich in Germany in the same competition – had affected his players’ performance.
“I don’t want to look for excuses after a defeat like that but it did not help,” he added. “It was not ideal and you could see we were not as fresh as we could have been.”
But the Gunners boss admitted his players only have themselves to blame as they became the latest side to suffer a heavy defeat at the Etihad Stadium, where City have now scored 35 league goals this season.
“Our strength until now has been our defensive discipline but we lost that as the game went on,” Wenger explained.
“Whenever we got a goal back we conceded another soon afterwards, and always through bad mistakes.
“We had tired legs and in the end we lost 6-3 but what hurts me more is that we had the opportunity to win and put City nine points behind us and, instead, they are three points behind us.
“That is very difficult to swallow because we played a team that was not unbeatable. We conceded many goals but honestly we could have scored six as well.
“We had three offsides given against us which were not offside, and a penalty turned down. The referee had a bad game.”