Arsene Wenger faced the media after the 2-1 victory against Anderlecht in the Champions League. Read a full transcript of what he had to say below:
on whether it was a nice end to his birthday…It's a nice end to a game. We played against an Anderlecht team that played very well. [They were] well organised, very focused, very quick in the transition and very good in the challenges. We controlled the game in the first half without creating any chances. In the second half, we opened ourselves up and were a bit more vulnerable on the counter-attacks.
I think the turning point was then not to concede the second goal at 1-0 down. They had a good chance that they didn't take and in the end, the quality of the players who came on and our experience made the difference, unexpectedly. But as long as we didn't concede the second goal, I thought we had a chance to take at least a point. It's a bit unexpected to take the three, considering the quality of the match that Anderlecht played tonight.
on whether he knew the equaliser was coming…I know by experience that the last five minutes in the Champions League - the nerves play a part. We had to get into these five minutes without conceding the second goal. Of course, if they had scored the second goal, it was game over. I had hope. It didn't look like it but it happened and that means we took all the risks and in the end, it paid off. It's a little bit of a gambling situation that happens in this kind of games and it worked tonight. It did not look obvious, that is for sure.
on whether he was proud of their spirit or worried about the result…Both. A little bit, because we had the spirit. We had to go. It was disappointing we didn’t create more chances tonight but I put that down to the fact as well that Anderlecht defended very well.
on Lukas Podolski and Emiliano Martinez’s performances…Yes, I don’t need to add too much. I had no worry for our goalkeeper because he has the presence and the quality and he resists stress well. We know Podolski can always score. He is frustrated and I understand that of course. But he’s important as well and he showed that tonight and he will be important in the coming months. It took him a while to get back to a good physical level [after the World Cup] and now he’s nearly there.
on whether Podolski was close to leaving in the summer…He was never close to leaving. He has 115 caps for Germany - that is not a coincidence, that shows you his quality. I think he is a guy you want to have the ball in the box. His shot is fantastic, his accuracy is great and he has very short back lift. He nearly scored before and I know when he comes on he can score.
on Belgian football…I have a big respect for Belgian football because I have suffered a lot here. They have shown again tonight they have produced a lot of top-quality players when we could think all of the big players had left the country. But they produce some good players which we have seen tonight because they do remarkable work with their academy.
on the next two group matches…Let's win the next one first when we play Anderlecht at home. We have learned a lot about them tonight and if we beat them then we have a good chance to qualify, then we play Dortmund at home and will see what we can do.
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