Wenger on victory, Coquelin and top four

Arsene Wenger spoke to the media after Arsenal’s 2-1 victory at West Ham United on Sunday afternoon. Read on for a full transcript:

on the win…We deserved to win the game. It was a typical committed, direct game where we needed to be solid in the air, take our chances on the break. Unfortunately when they came back to 2-1, we had five or six chances on counter-attacks that we couldn’t take, but overall everybody did the job very well, from the 'keeper to up front.

on Koscielny…We know that we need to be stable defensively. When we miss important players at the back, it’s always difficult to be stable.

on finishing in the top four…I have always had that belief but it’s far from done. We just want to win the next game and be consistent in our performances. We were just caught by Liverpool in the last minute and today we won away from home. If you look at our recent results, we look to be more stable. We have a big game in front of us now against Southampton with nobody coming back. The players who played today have given their all and now we need to recover and prepare for the Southampton game.

on Cazorla taking penalties…He was the right number on the list but Alexis Sanchez acknowledged it. Everybody has missed penalties. Anybody can miss.


Santi Cazorla scores from the spot

Santi Cazorla scores from the spot


on whether there was any doubt about the penalty…I thought it was a penalty, yes.

on Coquelin…He played very well, especially in the first half. He was very influential and then in the second half he fatigued a bit in the last 20 minutes, but he had a very good performance not only defensively but he also passed quickly, sharply and through the lines. Overall he had a convincing performance.

on whether he had any second thoughts about playing him…It was a gamble but I felt that we needed to protect with two players in front of the defence with Carroll on the long balls - we needed a bit of protection. I feel that he was the right choice.

on Arsenal’s creativity…With the ball I think we had a very different game today, but we always looked dangerous. We couldn’t finish the game off - it’s down to the quality of their goalkeeper. It’s down to sometimes missing our chances, sometimes as well maybe there was a player in a better position. Overall we created a lot of chances. When you look at the results today, there’s not too many goals. Forty-eight hours ago everyone played and of course that has a little impact.

on the style of the game…It was more fight than a creative game but you need to have that in England as well, especially when we played two days ago with 10 men for 40 minutes. When I looked at how much we gave physically [against QPR], I was worried for today. We knew before the game that we had to dig deep to win because we were a bit jaded but we did that.

on how important a top-four finish is…It’s vital for us.

on whether Arsenal can finish in the top four…We have done it for 17 years, so we are entitled to the belief that we can do it. It’s all to do because when you look at the league everyone is fighting very hard for it. Southampton, Tottenham, Manchester United, so many teams who can fight for these positions.

on Rosicky…I just gave him a complete recovery today. When I took him off with 10 minutes to go against QPR he had cramps in the calves and in the hamstrings, so I didn’t want to take a gamble.

on Podolski…No there is nothing concrete there.

on whether he’s confident Podolski will stay…At the moment nobody goes out. We have Ozil coming back now at the beginning of January, so of course there is a lot of competition up front.

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