Wenger: We weren’t mentally ready

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said that his team weren’t mentally ready following their surprise 2-1 defeat to Watford at the Emirates on Tuesday.

Early goals from Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney condemned the Gunners to defeat, meaning they missed an opportunity to close the gap on leaders Chelsea after they drew 1-1 with Liverpool.

“It was obvious we lost duels and were not sharp enough,” Wenger said. “It looked more mentally that we were not ready for the challenges.”

“You look at the facts and we were beaten in the duels. When you play at home, in our position, that is not normal. Everybody in the Premier League is strong physically and 90 percent is not enough,” he added.

Wenger sat in the stands for the second game of his four-match touchline ban for pushing an official, but would not blame the defeat on that.

“It’s difficult to know. It’s an easy excuse,” he said. “We prepared well. We were warned Watford would make it very physical. I have no basic regret in the way we prepared. Did we think subconsciously we could turn up and it would be OK, I don’t know?”

The dropped points mean Arsenal are now nine points ­behind Chelsea. The two play each other  at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Asked about the upcoming clash, Wenger said: “We want to respond and win of course. We need to analyse why we didn’t start well.”

“I’m responsible for the results so I’m frustrated,” Wenger said. “What other teams do doesn’t matter. I’m frustrated we didn’t win. We’re at home, it’s a great opportunity and we start as we did. We have to learn and respond quickly in a convincing way.”