Wenger refuses to blame squad changes

Ryan Bertrand.(Getty Images)
Ryan Bertrand.(Getty Images)

Cape Town - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made 10 changes to his starting lineup ahead of their EFL Cup exit at the hands of Southampton, but refused to use that as an excuse for their poor showing.

Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny was the only survivor from the side that beat Bournemouth in the Premier League over the weekend and a lack of fluidity among the Gunners starting line-up was evident throughout the first half.

While the hosts were much better after the break, the damage had already been done with Jordy Clasie and Ryan Bertrand grabbing goals before half time to lead the Saints to a 2-0 win.

"There are no excuses and we can only say Southampton were better than us," said Wenger.

"We had a disappointing performance, especially in the first half. We were not good enough defensively and we gave cheap goals away.

"It's one of those nights where you can play for two hours and not score. We were weak in some departments and we were punished for that.

"We were not incisive enough. They defended deep and were sharper and fitter than us. With a two-goal advantage they defended very well.

"I regret the way the game went. We have played well until now and when you look at the players who didn't play tonight, they were on the edge physically.

"When you look at the team we had, I don't think that was the problem. We didn't have the right urgency from the beginning of the game."

The Gunners next travel to the London Stadium where they will face city-rivals West Ham United on Saturday.

Kick off is at 19:30.

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