Wenger slams Old Trafford pitch

MANCHESTER - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger criticised the Old Trafford pitch as "not good enough to play good football" after Monday's 1-0 defeat by Manchester United cost them top spot in the Premier League.

The Londoners failed to show the sort of attacking spark that has characterised their season so far and which had propelled them to league leaders before the trip to United, who leapfrogged them to take a two-point lead at the top.

"On both sides you have seen technical mistakes because the pitch is not good enough to play good football," Wenger told a news conference. "(It is) bouncy and slippery as well."

Wenger, who has on plenty of occasions not seen eye to eye with United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson, had resisted getting too involved in some of the fiery pre-match rhetoric but was happy to join in afterwards.

"The technical quality of the game was average on both sides because the pitch is very poor in my opinion and the game suffered a lot for it," he said.

"If I ask if you want a good pitch or bad pitch what do you say?"

Ground staff had used sprinklers just before kick-off and several players did take tumbles, although United's solid five-man midfield and good blocking of crosses by defender Rafael also had much to do with Arsenal's failure to create.

Before the game United defender Patrice Evra had branded Arsenal a "training centre", saying they might play pretty soccer but were not proper title contenders.

Their attractive style of play was certainly absent on Monday but Wenger was unsure what the result meant for their bid to win a first league title since 2004.

"It is a big frustration, a big disappointment but what is important is that we bounce back in our next game," the Frenchman said. "Overall, from what I have seen tonight there is no reason not to believe. We looked quite solid overall."