On securing victory on a below-par surface…
“Having watched Sunderland against Preston on the DVD, and having spoken to a few people, they were a really hard-working team without any great stars I think.

“I asked them to move the ball quickly and we did it. The pitch didn’t help at times, it was a bit sticky and a bit dry. But on a poor surface we played quite well.

“This is a Premier League stadium and pitch so this is what they would have to encounter if they were playing in the first team so as an experience it has been more than valuable.”

On Sunderland’s 48th-minute red card…
“I always thought there was a goal in them but once the man got sent off we looked quite comfortable. I was a bit surprised. I thought it was just a yellow to be honest but it didn’t change the game as such but it made it easier for ourselves.

“I said at half time that if Sunderland have got a goal it would have turned round very quickly. I thought back to Hull a couple of years ago, who actually went down to nine men, where we struggled. We handled it excellently

On the two penalites…
“I don’t think there was any question over either penalties. Two good balls actually - and two good runs as well. It saved us a little bit though.”

On Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ performance at left wing…
“It’s maybe not his position in all fairness but we’ve got so many central midfielders it’s difficult to fit them all in. That is why the system we play is fitted in at the minute. It doesn’t really suit Jack [Wilshere] in all fairness and it doesn’t suit Jay either but sometimes you have to fit that round.”

On another FA Youth Cup run out for Jack Wilshere
“We all know Jack can play better. He is missing a few games at the minute and he looked a little bit rusty and a little bit anxious in many ways. He is certainly better than we saw so I think there’s better to come from him.”

On approaching the ‘business end’ of the competition…
“When you start to see the finishing line people, certainly the good players, start to sniff it a little bit. There’s a little bit of that about the group coming through.”

On returning to his former club…
“It’s lovely. I’ve seen a lot of old faces and I’ve spoken to [Nial] Quinny and Ricky [Sbragia] who is doing a great job at the minute. I love this club I have to say, I wasn’t here that long but I had great times here and I have great affection for it.”

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 31 Jan 2009