Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger criticised his team for being totally outmatched in their 3-0 humbling at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round of the League Cup.
One of the biggest disappointments for Wenger was doubtless seeing a number of youngsters fail to shine as goals from Ross Wallace, Lucas Joao and Sam Hutchinson dumped the North Londoners out of the competition.
Glen Kamara and Alex Iwobi started, while Krystian Bielik and Ismael Bennacer were introduced from the bench in a match that saw Arsenal suffer their biggest defeat to lower-league opposition since 1959.
And though the Gunners had to substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott due to injury, Wenger insists there could be no excuses for their defeat.
“We were not at the level that is requested to play a team of the quality of Sheffield Wednesday,” the Frenchman told reporters after the match. “We have to congratulate them.
“They were sharper, quicker, more decisive than us. We had a lot of the ball but we didn’t create anything, especially in the middle of the park.
“Of course it [defending] was disappointing. The occasion was too great for the younger players. They are not ready to play at this level – none of them. We conceded two from set-pieces and were very naive.
“We have to analyse it [the defeat] and I think we knew at the start of the game that if something happened to us, we were a bit short [on back-up options]. ”
Sterner tests await Arsenal next, with a crucial Champions League trip to Bayern Munich sandwiched between league matches against Swansea and Tottenham in the coming weeks.