Almunia accuses Arsenal
Manuel Almunia has accused some of his Arsenal team-mates of not giving their all in the Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona.
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp
Last Updated: 10/03/11 9:37am
Manuel Almunia has accused some of his Arsenal team-mates of not giving their all in the UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona.
The Gunners goalkeeper, who was introduced after just 19 minutes at Camp Nou after Wojciech Szczesny suffered a dislocated finger, produced a string of fine saves as the visitors' goal came under siege.
Almunia was unable to prevent Arsene Wenger's men slipping to a 3-1 defeat and exiting the competition at the last-16 stage following a 4-3 aggregate reverse, with the hosts pressing home their advantage after Robin van Persie's red card in the 56th minute.
Now the Spaniard has risked the ire of his North London colleagues by suggesting that there were some Gunners on the field who were playing at less than 100 per cent, and he feels that with greater effort they could have sneaked through against the odds.
"Barcelona bossed us and in the second half we had players that were not running," he said.
"We only needed one goal and with a bit more effort we could have caused them damage at the end.
"Even at 3-1, we only needed one goal and, well, you can't understand how there can be players that were walking. We were tired.
"It seemed that everything was lost but you can score a goal at any moment. So the only explanation I have is that we were so tired and the players couldn't give any more.
"And down to 10 men, it was double the effort. We came up against a Barcelona side that are the best in the world."
Nothing to prove
Almunia is expected to remain as Wenger's No.1 in the coming weeks, with Szczesny's injury seeing him join Lukas Fabianski on the sidelines.
And he believes the opportunity to play a key role as Arsenal battle for the FA Cup and Premier League crown, starting with Saturday's trip to Manchester United, will help him rediscover his best form.
"I have nothing to prove to anyone," added Almunia.
"I have another year left on my contract with Arsenal and I have to play a few games now and they will help me to get back to my best again.
"I've had a difficult period with injuries and without playing. But I've taken it calmly. Now I have to play and do what I can."