'We have strengthened our confidence'

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger spoke to the media after the Stoke City game. Here is a transcript of his press conference:

on the performance…They made it difficult for us, they were well organised, defended very deeply and we didn't find the space but kept going. We were a bit lucky on the goal but overall we deserve this win. We had chances, their keeper made some saves. We played in one half in the second half especially and overall we deserved to win the game.

on the linesman flagging for the goal…I haven't seen it. Honestly, from the bench I couldn't see what had happened. I thought the linesman gave offside, or maybe one of our players handled the ball - that is all I could think of. In fact, I heard Walcott was offside but not interfering with the game, so it was a goal.


Press conference

 on some flashpoints at the end…There were some heated moments, I don't think there was anything exceptional in the tackles. Theo Walcott got good treatment today, but I am very happy because the way he responded to it was with full commitment and desire to impose himself. That is where you see that Walcott has become a different player recently.

on Shawcross' tackle on Koscielny…I have to look at it again. I am not completely objective when it comes to Ryan Shawcross! That is why I am bit cautious with my statement.

on bad blood between the clubs…They know that we try to play a game based on movement and technique and they oppose us with a very strong defence. You have to give them credit for the way they defended today, but overall I don't think too much happened. Apart from Theo Walcott, he got a few bad tackles that maybe deserved a yellow. Overall it was a physical game with a team who tries to get some points and we expected that. We prepared mentally for that.

on grinding out a win…We are a team who can create chances, and score goals. Today it was not the case - we created chances but could not get the goals. But still I am happy that for a long time now, we didn't concecede and the defence looked solid. The satisfaction is that Nacho Monreal had a good start for a player who just arrived yesterday and is in the team today. He did not have time to think about it, but he got stronger and stronger during the game.

on Monreal's thoughts on English football…There is no better culture shock than Stoke when you come from Spain! They had a very physical game and I think he dealt well with it.

on the race for the top four…I said before the West Ham game and the Liverpool game that we are in a position where we can't drop points. We dropped points against Liverpool but we couldn't do it again today. What is more important is the quality of our performances is there, the spirit is there and the target to be in the top four is very important now because we have strengthened our belief and confidence.

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