Arsene Wenger spoke to the media after Arsenal's 2-1 win over Leicester City on Sunday.
Here's what he said:
on his feelings...It was happiness, because I think it was a very high level of energy in the game. We put the intensity in from the first to the last minute. It was as well a mental test for us, because to find yourself down 1-0 at half-time to a team who defends so well, you need to keep going in your head. And we came back in the second half with relentless energy. And we took as well all the risks to win it. We knew a draw was not good enough. In the end it paid off, down to the mental desire of the team to give absolutely everything to win it.
on when he decided to put Welbeck in the squad...Yesterday. In the last two days he was convincing in training. I planned at the start, when I made my press conference on Friday morning, to play him next week. But in the last two training sessions he was very strong and I decided just in the end to include him in the squad.”
on it being a great decision...Yes, but it was a great decision because Danny Welbeck is a great player, and you never know in our job if somebody else had come on would he have scored or not. But everybody is extremely happy for him, because he has been out for 10 months, that is an eternity for a player. We work very hard, our medical team, our fitness team, to bring him back so strong. Let’s not forget he has not played one minute for us, he has just played 45 minutes in the under-21s.
on Welbeck's mood while injured...You know Danny Welbeck, he is a great guy, with a great mentality. He worked extremely hard. That is why he is fit.
on the referee...Honestly, I said we were unlucky at half-time to be 1-0 down, because I thought it was a free-kick on Ozil on the edge of the box. And I thought that was a good opportunity for us to score just before half-time. And one minute later we were 1-0 down from a penalty that for me was not obvious at all. So that was a big mental hurdle for the team, we were under shock at half-time. We didn’t see that coming, and we were eight points behind Leicester at half time. You could see today that Leicester are not in this position by coincidence. They are quality, they defend very well, they come out very quickly. But I think in the second half we had the right energy level and they never came nearly past half-way.
on what this result does for title challenge...It will strengthen our belief that we are in the fight. We had a bit of a dodgy spell, Liverpool 3-3, Stoke 0-0, lost to Chelsea, 0-0 at home with Southampton. Now after that we won two games and we are still mathematically in the fight, that will strengthen our belief of course.
on what a loss today would have done...A loss today would have been massive, yes. Even after that you get all the negative vibes, the belief goes down, would have been much more difficult. We would not have given up, but eight points is three games to come back. We would need to win three , they would need to lose three.
on having the momentum to win the league...I believe that is what we want to achieve. But you have Man City, Tottenham and of course Leicester are in it, so at the moment it is very tight. What we want to do is to create a consistency to have a chance to do it. We are conscious we have some big games to come up. It is down to how much can we put that kind of energy into every game.
on substitutes changing the game...That shows you, at that level, the bench plays a big part. When you dominate the games, you can bring on strikers like Walcott or Welbeck, it changes completely your opportunities. That is what happens. As long as we rotate well, and everybody comes on with that spirit, it makes a difference.
on Welbeck's reception...He got a great reception.
on emotions before Ozil's free-kick...For a while, I thought eight points would be too much. We came back to five, I thought ok, it will not be completely over. It did smell [of a] goal, in the last five or six minutes. Every time we had the ball, I didn’t have too much time to think, because I thought something could happen there. And they just managed always to get the ball out. And when we had the free-kick on that side, and I saw Mesut taking it, I thought we had a chance there. Because his balls are top quality, and we had tall players in the centre then, Welbeck, Chambers, Mertesacker and Giroud. So I hoped it could happen.
Copyright 2022 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.