Press conference

‘Cech’s message to fans deserves a lot of respect’

Arsene Wenger dissected our performance - and responded to a tweet from Petr Cech - when he sat down to face the media after Sunday’s defeat at Brighton.

Here’s what he said:

on the game…
We had difficulty to get going and we suffered a lot physically in the first half. After that, mentally as well I believe that the lack of confidence, linked with the physical aspect, made us lose some balls where they took advantage of it. Overall, on top of that, we made some defensive mistakes, where they took advantage of it as well. In the second half, it was all us. But we lacked a bit of sharpness and freshness physically, to make the difference. At the moment, we play too many games and are charged negatively on top of that because we lose them. So it’s difficult.

on how to get out of this situation…
Nothing is permanent. We have to continue, first to recover now, because we played Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday. It’s nearly physically impossible for some players who have played all of the games. So we have to first recover and prepare for Thursday night.

on the fans in the stadium today…
Look, I can understand the frustration. What can I say, I think the League Cup being situated in the middle of the season is always very difficult when you don’t win it. It brings a lot of negative waves. We were four times in the last five years in finals, we won three and lost one. But it brings a lot of negativity and on top of that, the game that was rearranged on Thursday night did not help us to compete today. The negativity of having lost the final, plus the fact that we are not in a fantastic position in the league, of course it hits us hard.

on whether he can solve this situation…
Yes, because I have done it before and it’s the first time I lose so many games on the trot in my life. I believe in our quality. Until now, I always managed to do that [solve problems] and I still believe that I can do it.

on why we keep starting slowly when so much attention has been paid to our slow starts…
Because, when you play many games, it takes you time sometimes to get into the rhythm of the game. You have a bit heavy legs and many times you suffer in the first half. They were sharper than us in the first half, you could see that. In the second half, we came back into our pace and dominated well in the game. But we still lacked a bit of zip to make the difference and come back to 2-2.

on Cech being honest about his performance and apologising to the fans on Twitter…
I think it deserves a lot of respect, because it’s his assessment of his own performance. I think he’s a very intelligent guy, a very professional guy. He’s saved us on other occasions, today he cost us [with a mistake], but as a manager and as a club, we have to live with that. When the players do well, you take the credit. When the players don’t do well, you have as well to live with it.

on the team’s body language - and if Arsenal lack leaders…
That’s always what you get when you don’t win. You can say maybe it’s true or not, I think at the moment it looks more obvious that the team looks for confidence. In the last two games especially we gave a lot and we were 3-0 down at half-time [on Thursday]. That’s difficult to take. Today, after 20 minutes, we were down 2-0 again. The disappointments, plus the fact that we made defensive mistakes, at the moment it looks like we lack leaders. I don’t believe that - I just believe that we have to remain positive in a negative environment and show that we have character and that we have leadership.

on his future and uncertainty…
I must tell you, honestly, at the moment my future is not my main worry. My worry is to get Arsenal to win football games, and then we see where we go from there. I will try to give my best as long as I am here, and do everything to get the team back to more confidence. We need to recover physically first. The program we have is at the moment a bit too demanding.

on if the uncertainty is impacting on the players…
No. There’s no uncertainty, I told you many times. What is the uncertainty is at the moment the quality of our performance. When you go through a difficult patch, uncertainty before the game is the quality of the performance we can give.

on if he’s certain he will stay…
Look, I don’t want to talk about my future today. I’m long enough in the job to know what’s going on and I’m long enough in the job as well to know that what’s most important is to make sure you focus on what’s important, that you give absolutely your best with full commitment.

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