On the overall performance…
“It was an entertaining game and after 2-0 you could see that Maybe the Champions League started to surface a little bit. Overall it was a very good game against a Middlesbrough team who played in a very positive way. We dominated it and we made some brilliant passing today, some brilliant combinations. The first goal was absolutely outstanding and you could see that the team enjoy the way we play and loved the game. Middlesbrough had one opportunity to come back through Jeremie Aliadiere which was maybe the turning point for them.”

On Cesc Fabregas’ match-winning role…
“He gets sharper and sharper in every game. He was out for three months and you don’t come back at your best straight away. But now he gets better in every game. Every player who plays in midfield, who thinks they are creative and offensive, needs to score goals. That happened to him today and that’s important."

On Cesc’s early tangle with Stewart Downing…
“He told me it was the knee that he had before and we don’t like that. But he told me after the game that the ankle is worse than the knee so it’s not too bad. The referee told me he played the ball, Downing told me that as well. But he didn’t play only the ball. It’s always difficult to say if it’s intentional or not, if it is to aggravate or not.”

On playing his captain in a more advanced role…
“Usually Fabregas plays deeper with Nasri higher. I wanted to test how it would work the other way round. It could be reiterated that we will do it again because it was quite convincing. But that is open; we have 48 hours to study that then make a decision.”

On deciding to play a full-strength team…
“It’s better to win today than to lose and rest players. I believe the first part of today was to win the game – that’s the best preparation. We have a young team and they recover well. It is very important to put a nearly decisive distance between us and number five, Aston Villa. I believe it was very important not to miss that opportunity today. It’s not completely definite but 10 points with four games to go… We can focus now on maybe catching Chelsea because we play Chelsea at home.

“If you go to Old Trafford without belief you make it very difficult from the start. We’ll go there with belief, with desire and with enjoyment as well. We enjoy being where we are.”

On Sir Alex Ferguson’s visit to Emirates Stadium…

“I thought he was coming to watch Middlesbrough? He knows we have good red wine in the Directors’ Box! I think he knows us and he’ll think it will be an exciting game between two teams who try to play. We know each other well but still the talent on the pitch always surprises you. But I believe that both teams will go for it and it will be an exciting game.

“[did you speak to him?] Yes, we are polite here, we greet people. I went up to the Directors’ Box before the game like I always do.”

On Man United warming up with a comeback against Tottenham…
“Yes, Tottenham played well. In fairness I didn’t see the second half I saw the first and during the period I saw, Tottenham played very well."

On Man United’s recent defensive form…
“We will be faithful to the game we play and we go like we go everywhere in Europe, to try and score a goal or two to win the game. What is important on Wednesday night is to be at our best. When we are at our best we can beat anybody so let’s focus on us to be at our best and not to speculate on any weakness of Man United because they have the experience. But if we play at our best we have a good chance and we can do it.”

On the players returning from injury…

“Adebayor is just coming back from injury, Djourou as well. Djourou’s knee was not 100 per cent but he came through – I will decide that on Tuesday or Wednesday. Djourou came through the game well we will have to see how he responds tomorrow. I believe the only serious problem we have from today is Silvestre, he has a back spasm. He is a 50:50 [for Old Trafford].”

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 26 Apr 2009