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Wenger on the draw and finishing third

Arsene Wenger faced the media after Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford. You can read a full transcript of his press conference below:

on the second-half performance…I am pleased with the performance. The only regret I have is that we didn’t take the three points in the second half. We started the first half slowly, Manchester United were sharper at the beginning, and we were a bit stretched as well width and length-wise. The second half we were more compact and we took over. We showed a great response and got a deserved point.

on why Arsenal started slowly…We were a bit too timid, too conservative in our possession and a bit too far from each other as well. In the second half we were more compact and we had good opportunities on the counter. We were quicker and we had enough chances to win the game in the end.

on only needing one more point to secure third place…It takes the pressure off the holidays and in the preparations because you always have that in mind when you prepare. It will be great when we do it, but it’s still to do. We have two home games so let’s focus on the next one and we can secure that on Wednesday against Sunderland.

on finishing third…Satisfaction is always a tricky question. If they’d asked me in October then I would have said yes. Overall of course you want to be first but 17 teams would exchange position with you. It is a continuity in our results and it is a platform to do better next season. That’s our aim.

on how close Arsenal are to challenging for the title…That’s difficult to say because you don’t know how strong the teams will be next year. Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool will all be on the market so it’s difficult to know. I believe that we’ve come out of the season and we feel we have made progress in the Premier League compared to last season because we were consistent against the smaller teams then but this season we are stronger against the big teams. That’s a big platform to do better.

on Gedion Zelalem…I leave the players the freedom to play for the country that their heart is. More and more people have been educated in two or three different countries and it’s quite interesting. He’s an interesting case because he has been educated until the age of nine in Germany and then from 10 to 15 in the United States. That’s maybe the age where you go out of the family and start to have friends. He felt that he wanted to play for the States.

on whether he will go on loan…It’s possible. I always test the players in pre-season and then after that I make an assessment on how close they are to the first team. If he’s not close next year then yes, he needs to play somewhere.

on whether Jurgen Klinsmann will be a good role model…A fantastic role model. He has played at the top level and now he starts to have good experience as a coach as well, which will be fantastic for him.