on the performance ...
"We had a hangover from last week definitely - you could see that in the first-half. We needed to dig deep to find the pace of the game. In the second-half we were a little bit better but lacked that spark. The reason we got a point today was the desire and the refusal to lose."

on the strength of Aston Villa ...
"Aston Villa were a difficult opponent who defended very well and who were sharp on the break. I must say they are a team with very robust players and you feel always they expose your defenders to the physical challenge - in a fair way but in a way that can be dangerous for you. They take advantage of every mistake. Up front, too, they are a handful.

"I must say that I was impressed by Villa. Until the last minute they didn't give us any space, or time on the ball and they are team who are very difficult to beat."

on the title race ..
"I believe the point we gained today will have a big impact on the Premier League, and staying top helps. You know you go through a spell like that and I believe that the point gained can have vital importance.

"For the observers we will not be favourite and Manchester United will be but I believe that we are top, a point in front, have just one game all season and me maybe in a bad spell at the moment but we will bounce back and I am confident we will do it. That point today can make a big difference.

"The momentum is with Manchester United so people will say they are favourites but of course for me Arsenal are favourites."

on Adebayor not scoring ...
"We want to be successful and it is important the responsibility is shared by the players and other players score. That is why I am not worried because if the team plays well Adebayor will score again."

on getting players back ...
"At the moment we need to get our players back. We have Tomas Rosicky and Robin van Persie who are out and in the context of today you would like to have those players with you and hopefully we can get them back very quickly.

He (Van Persie) might be in squad for Tuesday but certainly won't start. We will asses him on Monday morning."

on the reported 'Eduardo' chants by Villa fans ...
"You expect better from people who come to football stadiums. It looks that intelligence and stupidity can have no limits. Unfortunately stupidity has won."

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1 Mar 2008