On the result...
"We lost the game because we deserved to lose it. Middlesbrough were sharper in the fight. They were a team who lacked confidence and we missed something at the start of the game because we gave them too much room and that caused the penalty. After that it was down to us."

On injuries and fixture congestion...
"We were a little bit jaded physically. It was our fourth away trip on the trot. It was difficult for us to make a game. We gave them the chances to get their counterattacking game going. That is something they are very good on. They are very sharp and mobile. It is a shame because we gave absolutely everything to come back but we lacked creativity, sharpness in our passing and therefore were not dangerous enough to come back into the game."

On scheduling...
"It is difficult because we played at Sevilla, Aston Villa, Newcastle and today. That is four on the bounce. It is really tough. You can't do anything about it. We had to take the Newcastle game in midweek. We had no choice."

On the penalty...
"I don't know. I have not seen it again but the referee was in a good position. I will watch it again. At the moment I do not have any opinion about it. It helped them today but give credit them, they defended very well."

On reacting to the first goal...
"You could see it would be more difficult if we were not 1-1 at half-time because then you have to come out more and more. They were good at taking the space when they won the ball back. You could see we had problems to win the one-on-ones. They made intelligent fouls when we were made a little difference. That gave them an advantage."

On Middlesbrough ...
"They have a good team. If you look at the names on the team-sheet you cannot say that is a team who should go down. They played a cup game today. When you look at how they finished, if the game had gone on 10 minutes further then we had a chance to have the come-back. The problem for Middlesbrough is not the quality of their players. It is whether they are capable of producing that performance when they go 1-0 down. Quality-wise it is not a team that should go down."

On losing to a side who play passing football...
"No it is not more acceptable but you have to take it. But it is more acceptable when your opponent deserves to win."

On praising Gareth Southgate ahead of the game...
"I was not being polite. I think he is dealing well with a situation in crisis. When you are a young manager it is not easy. But it is when things go well. I have told you many times I seem to have more confidence in the English managers than you do. That is why I believe he is one of the managers who can make a big career."

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 Dec 2007