on whether Rooney was the difference between the sides...
"I don't think so. I feel we had early chances in the first half which we didn't take and after that I believe United were sharper than us physically after the first half hour, that made a big difference I believe. On the first goal we lost the ball in our half and after it was 1-0 we missed two great chances, one came to Van Persie and one to Adebayor. I feel overall it was down to a lack of physical sharpness as the game went on. We were focused today but we were not as sharp as we could be. You could see that when we were 1-0 down because we lacked a bit of combination in the final third."

on omitting Henry from the starting line-up...
"He had not recovered from Wednesday night but he was not injured or I would not have put him on the teamsheet. He has played more games than the other players and he played on his own up front against Juventus twice, it is different for a striker than a defender. But overall I think we lost because we lacked a little bit of sharpness. In a big game you must score first, basically, if you want to win. You cannot lose a goal like we lost the first one."

on whether Henry's absence contributed to the result...
"I don't think it was a major factor. The game is not about those who sit on the bench, we have lost [at Old Trafford] with Thierry Henry on the pitch as well. I think it is important to do the right things in the game, we did not concede a goal because Thierry was sitting on the bench. It is always easy to look at the game like that but you have to analyse it like it happened, and United deserved to win because they were sharper."

on Arsenal's hopes of a top-four finish...
"We are jaded today, certainly, our chances diminished today, but it is still in our hands mathematically. Our problem is that we have fixture congestion with the Champions League games and we paid the price a little bit today. We are in a worse league position than in other years so at the moment we cannot afford to drop points. But mathematically we are five points behind Tottenham with a game in hand, we play them at home and they have some difficult games. It is open but of course we want to win every game and today we lost."

12/1 - Portsmouth v Arsenal - Arsenal to win 3-1 at Fratton Park


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 9 Apr 2006