‘We will not give up on title’, Wenger bellows
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is refusing to give up on his side’s Premier League title ambitions ahead of their match against Swansea on Wednesday.
The Gunners fell five points behind table-toppers Leicester following Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Manchester United, but Wenger is keen to ‘transform negatives into positives’.
The Frenchman will be without midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for up to two months with a knee injury, while Wenger also revealed that Alexis Sanchez is fighting for fitness.
“How I would describe it – we had a very bad week and it’s down to us to make this week a very good week. It’s as simple as that. That’s why you love competition. A bad week is not permanent, it’s what you make of it and how you respond, that’s the beauty of sport. Things change quickly one way or the other and that’s absolutely beautiful as well.”
Q: And in terms of the title race, you’re very much still in it.
Q: This week for example you have got Spurs at West Ham, Manchester City at Liverpool. It’s an ideal platform isn’t it?
“Look, let’s not speculate on other results because what we want is a good week. We come out of a bad week, we want to have a good week now.
“Yes, that’s what we want to do. We want to transform negatives around us into positives and create even more solidarity. Let’s not go overboard. We do not play to be relegated, we play to fight for the premiership and that’s why we have to put the criticism in the right place.
“Well, I believe we were disappointed with the results [against Barcelona and Manchester United] but we don’t have much time to dwell on that. We want to focus on our next game. It was an away game and we now know that we have six home games. Every home game becomes very important.
“Of course, we gave a lot against Barcelona and had a disappointing result that certainly had an impact on our belief against Man United. So we want to focus on the positives and recover from that defeat at Man United and give our best until the end of the season now.
[On Alexis Sanchez] “He’s just coming back from injury. I believe that he is fighting to get back to his best. His second half was quite positive and encouraging at Manchester United, so what you want from him is that he doesn’t lose confidence and continues to fight.
[On Gabriel Paulista] “Look, I would prefer him to have better English because in a fraction of a second sometimes somebody can help you and can communicate. But he has Nacho Monreal who plays next to him and can speak Spanish. But I believe he is working very hard on his English and is improving quite quickly and well.
“I’m never surprised by criticism that comes. That’s part of the media today – it is always a bit excessive and emotional but we have to deal with that and I don’t complain about that.
[On Graeme Souness’ criticism] “Look I don’t want to respond to individual criticism because I accept that people are a bit too emotional. We want to put it into perspective and analyse things a bit more in a neutral way. I believe this club is respected all over the world, despite what people say.
[On Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] “Six to eight weeks out. No surgery. We feared he would need surgery when we saw the MRI scan but in the end it is positive news on that front.”
Q: A bit of a blow –
“Yeah. The next eight weeks. That means March and April he will be out.”
Q: Do you still think he’ll be alright for the Euros?
“Look, Swansea want to secure their position in the Premier League so you expect them to fight very hard, with great commitment and be very organised defensively. They are a good side who find themselves in a position that they didn’t expect to be in at the start of the season because they lost confidence with a bad start and after that, in this Premier League, it is difficult.”
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