Wenger on defeat, Watford and Gabriel

Arsene Wenger faced the media after Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup quarter-final against Watford. You can read a full transcript below:

on the defeat…Our long, long run has come to an end in a very sad way because I don’t think that we deserved to lose. We have to look at ourselves for the first goal. The second goal was a fantastic shot. I felt that it was a real cup game where they defended very well and took their chances on the break, the few chances they had. As long as we didn’t score the first goal they kept their belief. They were physically very strong but we had enough chances to win the game.

on whether their physical strength had an impact on the result…We knew that before the game. We had enough technical superiority to win the game and to score goals. It was down to not making a mistake and keeping it 0-0 until the last 20 minutes. If we would have done that then we might have won the game. Unfortunately we made one. It is sad. We’ve come out of a very long run in the FA Cup. The FA Cup is the FA Cup, you cannot guarantee you will win it.

on how difficult it will be to pick the players up…It’s always difficult but it’s our job to prepare for the next game.

on confidence…This had nothing to do with confidence. Of course there is confidence in the team. The recent results haven’t shown that but we’ve played against good teams and the recent results were 2-2 at Tottenham with 10 men and a 4-0 win at Hull. I don’t see why we shouldn’t have any confidence.

on Welbeck’s chance at the end…It was difficult to understand how we didn’t score. I want to watch it again. It was a typical cup game against a team who comes here to fight and take their chances, with us trying to score. It was just like that, there’s not a lot more to say.

on how disappointing it is to be out of the FA Cup…When we’re in it you [the media] say it’s only the FA Cup. You cannot say that it’s a disaster on the other end of the scale.

on whether he is concerned about Arsenal’s home form…A little bit, yes. I agree with you that we do not make enough of our domination, of our possession in the final third.

on the impact it will have on the Barcelona game…We have shown that we can always respond. This team has a great spirit and a very strong attitude. They play at the moment with the idea that you cannot afford any negative results. We can deal with that and we will deal with the fact that we have a good opportunity to show on Wednesday that we are up for it.

on Gabriel’s tackle…It didn’t look [like a red card to me], I have to see it again. He won the ball. It looked to me like Deeney was [off the ground] as well. Gabriel was first to the ball. That’s how it looked. If his feet were off the ground then I will have to look at it again.

on whether he will take a full-strength squad to Barcelona…We want to make the impossible possible. Barcelona are a very, very strong side and it’s very important that we go there, focus and show a good response.

on the triple substitution…I wanted to give a bit more penetration because I felt that we were lacking a bit and were passing a bit sideways. We lacked penetration and an incisive game. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to make a substitution before they scored the second goal. I wanted to do it at 1-0 but then they broke and it was 2-0. It was much more difficult.

on Arsenal’s defending…I don’t think we suffered a lot defensively. Watford are a team who are good on the break. They depend on Ighalo and Deeney and they are a handful to cope with. They were good and the rest work very hard. Overall we didn’t give many chances away in that game.

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