Arsène Wenger suggested that Arsenal had suffered from an attack of nerves after their title challenge suffered a setback when they could only draw at home to Manchester United. The manager had wanted to see a reaction to Saturday's 5-1 defeat at Liverpool but he felt that his players did not express themselves creatively as they were preoccupied with shoring things up at the back.
"I felt we were nervous, yes," Wenger said. "It is not worrying because we care about what we do and when you concede five goals like we did on Saturday … we are only human beings and that is always what you get after a game like that.
"Sometimes you don't score because the team was highly focused not to concede. That maybe restricted our game going forward a little bit because we were certainly hit by the five goals we conceded on Saturday. You could feel that here. When you are hit like we were, the players want not to lose it and we could have lost it in the last five minutes."
Arsenal missed the chance to return to the top of the table, although they sit only one point behind the leaders, Chelsea. "We have come out of two difficult games and we are still in a strong position," Wenger said. "That is the only positive. We had two bad results but we are still in a position where we can do it. We lost two points here and we missed an opportunity to go top of the league again, but a point keeps us in the race.
"We've had difficult games, Liverpool and Man United and, from now on, it is important we come back to winning. If you look at the domination we had, then yes we should have won, but Man United restricted us to very few chances and the few we had, we couldn't take. On top of that, they had players who can be dangerous on the counter."
Wenger admitted that Arsenal lack a little bit of offensive punch. Olivier Giroud, who has shouldered a heavy burden all season as the lone striker, missed two presentable chances. "We are a bit short of goals at the moment," the manager said. "Mathematically we have lost goalscorers like [Theo] Walcott and [Aaron] Ramsey [to injury]. In games like this you see that. We will get back by, first, not losing tonight and then, coming back to our normal offensive level."
David Moyes, the United manager, praised his team's discipline and lamented two near misses from the former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie. "We had a few chances but it was a tight game, a bit like the one at Old Trafford [that United won 1-0]," he said. "If you had said to me at the start of the season that we could take four points from Arsenal I don't think I'd have been too disappointed with it."
Moyes continued to insist that he would not give up on a top-four finish. "If there's one club in history that's been great at winning games in the second half of the season, putting pressure on other clubs, it's been Manchester United," he said. "We can only do our job the best we can. We just want to put pressure on them by winning our games. The players are still hungry and determined to be successful."
Moyes added that Rafael da Silva had been substituted because of concussion. The defender was taken to hospital after the game as a precaution.