On the performance...

“It is disappointing being so close to a win and then they equalise, especially when I think Villa hadn’t created a lot in the second half, after their chances in the first. I believe the turning point was the penalty because afterwards we lost some composure and became nervous in getting over the line; in the end that cost us.

"We are disappointed tonight, but there are positives. If you listen to 59 specialists, 58 of them said we would lose today, so we should be happy.”

On Villa's approach...

“You could see a few times that we had chances in the first half but there was a danger from set-pieces. You know Villa will lift the ball behind the defence and aim for set-pieces or crosses, and they are dangerous at that. At home when they don’t have space in behind, and are without John Carew, they are not the same threat.”

On the unusual formation...

“With Abou Diaby you don’t know if he is a midfielder or a striker. He has the power to go past players and he plays off the striker, so our formation was a 4-4-1-1.”

On the penalty decision...

“It was a committed game. I felt overall the referee had a good game, but on the penalty I think the first foul was by [Gabriel] Agbonlahor on [William] Gallas, and that the second was by Gallas.”

On proving the critics wrong...

“I feel that we have the quality and a fantastic spirit because everybody said we would lose today, and in the end we were unfortunate. We lost [Alex] Song just before half-time and had Adebayor suspended. Since Sunday I have watched what people are allowed to do in England and, being as objective as possible, it [the red card] is still difficult to understand.”

On being realistic...

“I think we have to keep the belief we have in the squad, because we have played Villa, Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool and lost just once. We have improved in the last two months tremendously, and we look more solid. We are young and I think the same team today with one year more, would not let Villa come back.”

On injuries ahead of Sunday...

“I don’t think Song will be fit, and [Gael] Clichy should be alright for Sunday, and Adebayor will be back.”



Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 27 Dec 2008