Jens Lehmann says English referees have been harsher on Arsenal than any other side this season and admits the club has fallen short of expectations on the domestic front.
A number of contentious penalty calls against the Gunners have played a role in poor results in recent weeks, including the exit to Nottingham Forest in the cup and league draws with West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea.
So frustrated was Arsene Wenger with the decision to award a penalty at the Hawthorns that he earned himself a three-game touchline ban for comments directed at Mike Dean.
Lehmann told Sport Bild that, “in the league, we have indeed fallen a bit short of our expectations and need to improve.”
He made clear though, that he has clear issues with some of the officiating: “We had to accept by far the most bad calls in penalty decisions against us.
“We hope this will balance out over the remainder of the season.”
While Arsenal exited the FA Cup at the third round stage for the first time under Arsene Wenger, the former Germany international stressed that the club’s policy of fielding younger players was was worth defending.
While the result “was not as expected, you can’t repeat it [an FA Cup win] every year.”
He said: “We gave the young players a chance to make a case for themselves, but the result was sadly not as expected.
“Teams like Spurs or City, now regarded as outstanding, have won nothing in the past few years.”
Lehmann also touched on the distinctly German atmosphere at Arsenal after he was joined at London Colney by new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and with Per Mertesacker set to take over the Academy in the summer.
“German as never before,” he described the club. “Players come and go. For instance, you don’t know if Mesut Ozil stays.”
“But Per Mertesacker will head the academy from the summer on. That’s going to be a big loss for the senior squad, because as a captain he is listened to.”