The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘I’ve given every drop of my blood’

London: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was adamant his side are still better than Manchester United despite letting the Premiership trophy slip from his grasp.

The Gunners have taken nine points from their last seven matches, allowing the Red Devils to surge past them, the 3-2 defeat at home to Leeds on Sunday gifting the title to United.

“It was a very small difference between the two teams in the League,” Wenger insisted. “But if you look at the FA Cup and the Championship, we are the best team in England.”

It is the second time Wenger has failed to keep hold of the Premiership, but the Frenchman believes if Arsenal had beaten Bolton on April 26 they could have retained their status as champions.

“I’m bitterly disappointed,” Wenger said. “Last week at Bolton was the turning point of the championship. We had the title in our hands with 15 minutes to go.

“If we had won, we would certainly have kept the title. This was worse than 1999 because we were so much closer.”

Wenger also insisted that given United’s financial superiority, finishing as runners-up was no disaster.

“We look to the future and will try to finish first next season. But with 50 per cent less budget than Manchester United, second place is not too bad. Last year, when United lost the championship, they responded by buying a player for £30 million. I certainly won’t be doing that. Our most expensive player cost £12 million.”

“I don’t think United were flying, they were just consistent, but their last two games were quite easy,” Wenger said. “We can just congratulate them now. Winning the championship means you have been the best in the League. But I think it was very, very close.”

“I have given every last drop of blood and energy to keep the championship. Now I have to go home and think why I did not do it. The players must ask themselves the same.”

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