on why he brought Fabregas off the bench...
I felt we had taken over the game and I think we were dominant. We missed a few chances before he came on, we could have been up already, but of course he adds some creativity in your game and at that moment I felt it was needed.

on whether it was a gamble worth taking...
You never know. If you can prove to me that we would have won the game without him coming on the pitch, I was wrong. But we can never check that. I feel that I did the right thing. I was cautious. We know that Alex Song will go soon [to the Africa Cup of Nations] and in midfield we could become short if we lose players. But I would do it again because sometimes you follow your instinct in a game and if I put him on the bench I know before the game that I will put him on if it is really needed. Had we been 1-0 up I would not have done it. But you do what you think you need to win the game.

on why he gambled in the first place...
Aston Villa has a game that makes you very nervy, because you can be dominant and lose the game. We were dominant, didn't take advantage of it and so you can be cautious or push the gamble a little bit further. That's what I did.

on a significant win for Arsenal...
I think it is a massive result for the team. When you look where we were a few weeks ago, credit to the team, they didn't give up when everybody has written us off. We kept going and that shows the team has mental strength. Maybe the turning point was the second half at Liverpool when we won the game.

on Denilson's withdrawal...
He has a back problem, the same as before. I haven't seen him yet but we will see.

on bouncing back in December...
We had to keep the belief high, to keep the desire. I believe this team is talented, it has great spirit and for me they deserve to be successful. But we have not won anything yet and sometimes when you have not done that you don't know if you can do it. So it was important for them to keep believing they could come back in a decent position.

on the impact of the Africa Cup of Nations on Chelsea...
Yes but they go to the African Nations Cup and we have the injuries. If you lose a player for three weeks through injury it’s like he goes to the African Nations.

on keeping Andrey Arshavin up front...

It’s a bit too early to decide that. I have no obvious reason at the moment to change that. I think he came alive in the last 30 minutes. I like him there.

on whether he still needs to buy a striker...

“I’ve said we will keep our eyes open and if a good opportunity turns up we will do it. But at the moment I haven’t got any. .I will have to look maybe as well at midfielders and how big the damage is. If we lose Denilson and Fabregas we will be short there. I don’t know yet.

on the defensive test against Villa...
It was an interesting game for us because we were tested defensively as well. That was very important for the belief of the team as well. You play against Aston Villa and you don’t concede a goal - that was important for us.

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 2009