By Declan Taylor

Arsène Wenger has praised Manuel Almunia’s focus after having his ankle sprained by El-Hadji Diouf.

In the 21st minute, Almunia was caught very late on the ankle by Diouf as the Spaniard cleared a back-pass. Shortly afterwards, the pair clashed again in the six-yard box while waiting for a corner.

After the game, Wenger decided to reserve judgement on the Senegalese’s challenge but praised his goalkeeper’s temperament after being injured. 

“He realised at half time that he has to keep focused,” said the manager. “He did that well in the second half.

“I spoke to him about it at half time of course. I had some experience with Jens Lehmann before - I think he would’ve headbutted him [if he was on the end of that sort of tackle].

“I will have to see the tackle again but to me it didn’t look like he had any chance of playing the ball. Almunia looked to be well ahead of getting the ball but I want to see it again to see if he had a high foot or not.

“He had a sprained ankle, Almunia, so we will see how he responds tomorrow.”

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16 Mar 2009