A testy Arsene Wenger launched an impassioned defence of his team and tactics in the wake of Arsenal’s Cup defeat to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
The usual calm Arsenal manager couldn’t hide his anger during a press conference today as he defended his team selection and laughed at the suggestion he isn’t taking the FA Cup seriously.
‘I’ve been accused of not taking the FA Cup seriously. I’ve won it 4 times. Tell me who has won it more than me. Tell me, one name” said Wenger.
‘I’ve been accused of not putting out a strong enough team – this is an insult to those who started the game, 11 internationals.’
But Wenger has impressed on his players that they must put the defeat to Rovers behind them saying:
‘We are fully focused on tomorrow’s game. You can’t compare the FA Cup with the Champions League. We must focus on our own quality and we have to put into our heads that we have 180 minutes to qualify.
‘It is vital to keep a clean sheet. Nil nil is not a disaster at home, but of course we will try to score goals. We have a way to play that everyone in the team knows. We must play with a positive mentality
‘We’re on a good run. What’s important is to forget what people say and play to our strengths.
‘We live in a democracy of experts and opinions but we need to show we can deal with that. There are a lot of experts who are not necessarily always right.’
Wenger also denied reports that the club are about to hand him a new two-year deal saying:
‘That (new deal) is the wrong information. It only has one intention: to harm.”
Interesting choice of words there by Arsene on a contract extension. Is he implying that someone within Arsenal leaked that the club was going to offer him a new deal in order to upset the fans even more?