Press conference

The boss on Mavropanos, Wilshere and Lacazette

Was it a penalty? Was it a red card? Why didn’t Alex Lacazette play? And where was Jack Wilshere?

Arsene Wenger fielded all of those questions and more when he sat down for his penultimate post-match press conference as our manager.

Here’s the full transcript:

on frustration after the game…

It’s a frustration, yes, because I believe we played a great game and with 10 against 11, we have shown quality in our game, spirit, and overall it’s very sad because the decision went against us and we are upset because we lost a game we should not have lost. That’s a fact we have to face. It has not big consequences but it’s just in a continuity in what we have faced all season.

on disagreeing with the red card…

I disagree with the red card because Holding would have caught this ball. He [Mavropanos] was not the last man.

on the penalty…

The penalty is a very creative, imaginative aspect from the referee. We watched it again. It’s a nice dive but it’s not a penalty.

on if Mkhitaryan caught the player…

No, he plays the ball.

on if he’s worried about handing over this team…

No, I feel that if you look at our season, at home we have had championship-winning form. Away from home we have had the consequence of many things: a lack of confidence because of a few bad results, and after that we neglected some games because we were in the Europa League. The quality is there, the spirit is exceptional. I think if the team has one or two good away results next year, they will play for the Premier League - I’m convinced because there’s something special in that team, which will come out next season. I’m convinced that Arsenal will be one of the top contenders next year.

on if Leicester surprised him…

They played with 11 against 10 for 75 minutes and we had to make the game. They played well but I must say, I don’t know if you have played football, but when you have to attack with 10 against 11, it’s normal that when you lose the ball, your opponent has space and opportunities to go on the counter-attack.

on Mavropanos and a learning curve…

Of course. This boy has 20 top-level games in his legs. I believe when games are very close, it takes so much mental energy at the start of your career that it takes sometimes a bit longer to recover. Tonight he was a bit surprised by the pace of the game at the start, because he had not completely recovered. I had a long thought about playing him straight away again or not. Sometimes you think ‘OK, it’s going well for him, keep him in’. But I don’t think he had recovered.

on why Lacazette didn’t play…

Rest. He played at Madrid, he played on Sunday. I rotated the strikers a little bit.

on the Leicester fans singing ‘one Arsène Wenger’…

I’m grateful for the reaction of the crowd. Overall, I’m frustrated because we lost the game. I think Leicester is a fantastic football club. I managed here when Guppy, Izzet and all these guys played here. They always played in the Premier League, they always had good teams. They always do good work, so it was a nice reception from the fans as well.

on Jack Wilshere and his future…

First of all he was with us [tonight]. He had to go back because his wife was induced. For the rest, I give him only always one advice: stay at the club. The noises I have is that he will do it, but I don’t know how close he is to signing the contract or not. But the noises are positive. I hope that will be concluded very quickly and that he can go to the World Cup with England, and win the World Cup.

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