Interview

‘Alexis is happy on the pitch… it’s all you want'

Alexis

The football world will be watching when we face Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, but one player will be in the spotlight more than most.
 
Alexis was heavily linked with Pep Guardiola’s side over the summer and Arsène Wenger was asked all about our forward, City and squad rotation ahead of this weekend’s game.

on being the last team to beat Manchester City - and how we did it…
We tried to defend well and not to hide at the times when we had the ball. We went forward and I think we had a balanced team, a team who could defend and was quick going forward every time we had the ball. We took over as well, I think, in the second half and it was played after extra-time. Overall, we had a good focus.

on whether he’s surprised by their start to the season or if it’s just a consequence of spending £350m…
They spent more than that if you look at it altogether! Of course, they have quality players and they can go to Napoli and rest Silva. Of course they have a huge squad.

on whether he saw anything interesting in what Napoli did against Manchester City…
Well, they had two games and again you could see that first half Napoli gave them many problems, but in the second half they dropped again physically. I think that’s because they’d played on Sunday night and Man City played on Saturday afternoon. You can see when the games are at that intensity, physical aspects become important.

on being able to rest 11 players before the trip to the Etihad Stadium…
The target is that, the rotation policy is to be destined to that. To get it right, you need the right results. This team will be right if we have a positive result on Sunday.

on understanding that wider attention will be on Alexis against Manchester City…
Well, your attention will be on Alexis. My attention will be on the team performance and not on Alexis.

on whether this game gives Alexis an extra motivation to show he is committed and will perform…
I expect him to be motivated, but he is always. Honestly, if there is one thing you cannot fault in Alexis Sanchez it is his motivation.

on Alexis not yet reaching 100 per cent this season…
I think you are a bit harsh with him. I think in the last two or three games he has been very close.

on whether he has put himself in Alexis’ shoes…
No. You know this guy, when he plays for Chile, the passion that is in South America, when we played for Barcelona and when he plays for Arsenal, he is happy on the football pitch and that’s all you want.

on whether Alexis was close to leaving…
No. At the end of the day, close or not close, it does not matter. It doesn’t have any influence. What is important is when you have an opportunity to play at the top level, you give your best - and that’s what he will do.

on if there’s any chance of Alexis signing a new deal to remain at Arsenal…
Before Sunday? Certainly not!

on what his stance is if Manchester City try to buy Alexis in January…
I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know. I am part of ‘everybody’ and I don’t think that.

on if he thinks Alexis is needed at Manchester City…
I don’t know. They have to decide that. We need him here.