Premier League – Fuming Lehmann hits out again
Jens Lehmann‘s association with Arsenal has taken another step towards a bitter end after the “angry” goalkeeper claimed he could have prevented the Gunners’ Champions League exit had he been given the chance to play.
The Germany international has been usurped as manager Arsene Wenger’s number one this season with Manuel Almunia taking his place in the starting XI.
But the 38-year-old insists he is a better keeper than his Spanish team-mate, and that Arsenal would still be in with a realistic shout of silverware this season had he not been consigned to the bench.
Wenger’s hopes of winning the Champions League for the first time were dashed after Tuesday’s thrilling quarter-final second leg with Liverpool, and with their Premier League ambitions hanging in the balance, Lehmann has been left seething.
“I stayed here to win the Champions League and I saw good chances to play, but I have not had these (chances) and that makes me very angry,” he said.
“For me personally, it is a tragedy, particularly since I did not have a chance to prevent it.
“I have had such thoughts (about being able to prevent defeats) ever since the coach took me out of the team following the 0-0 against Milan.”
In reference to Almunia, he added: “To be sitting on the bench behind somebody who only started to play when he was 30 is not funny.
“I am very angry.”
Lehmann apportions the blame for his relatively inactive campaign firmly at the door of Wenger, who he claims has led him on since the end of last season.
He said: “If the coach had spoken to me before the start of the season then I would have been able to decide if I wanted to sit on the bench.
“He has a different opinion and I don’t really believe he can be happy with it.”
Wenger did give Lehmann the chance to leave the Emirates during the January transfer window – his former club Borussia Dortmund were willing to take him back – but the shot stopper opted to stay in north London and fight to win back his place.
And with the current situation not quite matching his expectations, Lehmann is expected to now seek another club come the end of the season.