Former Arsenal midfielder Denilson believes he and his teammates were to blame for the Gunners’ trophy drought rather than Arsene Wenger’s management.
The Brazilian moved to the north London club in 2006 as an 18-year-old in a £3.4million deal from Sao Paulo.
But he never lived up to his potential at the Emirates and moved back to Sao Paulo on loan in 2011 and permanently two years later.
Denilson’s time with Arsenal coincided with a nine-year trophy drought following the club’s FA Cup victory in 2005.
But he insists the barren run was not due to Wenger’s management, instead pinning the blame on the players.
“Wenger’s vision was the right one,” Denilson told The Guardian. “If there was anyone to blame it was the players on the pitch. There were little mistakes that led to goals.
“Arsene Wenger was one of the best managers I played for. I can only thank him for what he did for me.”
Denilson is now 32 and a free agent after struggling with injuries during a recent stint with Botafogo.
He boasts a Copa Libertadores winners’ medal from his time with Sao Paolo but never lifted a trophy during his time with Arsenal.
He was on the receiving end of League Cup final defeats to Chelsea in 2007 and Birmingham City four years later, and admits his lack of honours with the Gunners is hard to stomach to this day.
Denilson added: “One thing that hurts me the most is that not winning a medal with Arsenal. We got to two cup finals and lost both.
“I would look at the big rival, which was Manchester United, and believed we played a more beautiful game.
“My teammates were so talented: Thierry Henry, Gilberto Silva, Jens Lehmann, Cesc Fàbregas. Arsenal played the true beautiful football.
“I can’t understand how we didn’t a medal and what went wrong. I can’t explain it, having that talent, playing so beautifully and not winning anything.”
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