Arsene Wenger faced the media after Sunday’s 2-0 win against Everton at Emirates Stadium. You can read a full transcript of what he had to say below:
on whether it was the calm after the storm...What was very important today was that we had a mentally united response and we showed that. We are proud of the response that we showed today. Our defensive concentration was at a much higher level than on Wednesday night. We know that we can do better with the ball but overall what was important for us was to respond with a win. We got it and not everybody can produce that after such a disappointment. It was vital for us, for the rest of the season, to win the game today.
on Olivier Giroud...It was a great goal. He responded very well and I’m not happy only because he scored a goal but also because of the workrate he put in today from the first to the last minute.
on whether he was tempted to rest Giroud...Not really because he’s an important player in the box with his presence up front, even defensively. The worry for me was him lasting 90 minutes. I took him off after 65 so he only played an hour the other night. All these ingredients were important in my decision. When a guy misses [chances in] one game, straight away to take him out [would be harsh] and I thought his presence would be important against Everton.
on a perceived lack of leadership...Santi Cazorla had a great game as well, our defenders did well... I can understand that we got this kind of criticism after the game because it looked like that but it’s not permanent, it can sometimes be occasional that not everybody is focused on the right things in the game. I believe that we wanted to make the difference too much in the first game [against Monaco] and forgot our basics to defend as a unit. Today we came back to our basics and that was very important to find our confidence back.
on Francis Coquelin...Yes [he has broken his nose]. I don’t know [how long he will be out], I hope not. I don’t know whether he will need surgery or not.
on Gabriel...He had an encouraging performance overall. He was surprised by the intensity of the challenges once or twice but he made a great tackle against Romelu Lukaku in the first half. He’s highly focused, has a good concentration level and is quick.
on Arsenal fans liking no-nonsense defenders...We all like that. It’s difficult to find central defenders today.
on whether it was Coquelin’s decision to stay on...They told me he was bleeding but that he could stay on. The second time he was hit again so after that I had to take him off. I had been told by the medical people that he could stay on.
on Coquelin’s commitment...He wanted to stay on. He didn’t play here for a long time so now that he plays, of course he doesn’t want to come off the pitch.
on Everton...They are a good side. They are a very good team but that shows you that in this league the difference between teams is very small and that even against a team of that quality, once you don’t win you lose a bit of confidence and you lose games. They are a very good team and they play good football.
on whether Olivier Giroud had a difficult week...Olivier’s great quality is when his back’s to the wall - he has the personality and the character to respond. Because I know him better now, that’s one of the reasons why I kept him in the team. He acknowledged that he missed his game and he will respond because he has the strength to do it.
on whether Arsenal are still a team on the rise...It depends what you call on the rise. We have three more points than last week and if you look at our Premier League run since November, I think we are in a good position. On the fluency front we can do better but today our first worry was just to win the game.
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