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Wenger on Arteta, Rosicky, Tottenham

Arsene Wenger faced the media after Arsenal’s 4-0 win against Aston Villa on Sunday. You can read a full transcript of his press conference below:

on whether this season has been a success…There’s a lot of negatives in your question. You have to say Leicester have had a sensational championship because they only lost three games. It’s not only us who are behind Leicester. We have beaten them twice so you should ask that question to all the other teams. We are not happy by being second, but 18 other teams who finished below us would be happy to be in our position. Of course our target was to be first. For a while we believed we could do it. I always knew the second part of the season would be tough because we had to go to so many difficult places, like United, City, Tottenham, Liverpool. We had many difficult away games and I knew that our position in the end would depend on us getting through these difficult games without damage and Leicester dropping points. It’s not only on us. Tottenham were in a better position than us for a long, long period and City as well. We kept going until the end and at a period where it was very difficult for us, we kept our togetherness and we have now not lost in nine games. That mental strength we have in the dressing room got us through that period.

on transfers…I’m not the only one who can decide that because when you buy players you need the player to agree and the clubs to agree to sell them. But we will try.

on finishing second…We are second in the league and we want to be first. But if you are not first, you might as well be 10th or 12th. You might as well say that first is good and the rest is rubbish. In sport, when you work in a football club you know that every win you have to fight and prepare more. We want to win more. We want to be first. But as well, we have made over 70 points in the Premier League and it is not easy.

on it looking like Spurs would finish above Arsenal…It looked for many years like that.

on whether it is a special day…I agree with you that we did not start the season saying we want to finish above Tottenham. But we wanted to win the league and I agree with you there is a frustration because we didn’t win the league. Today, we could only play with the target we had and the only one we had before the game was to finish second. We achieved it. For a while our supporters have not been going home happy from here – at least today they had some satisfaction.

on Tomas Rosicky…It shows that in football there are still positive emotions. Tomas Rosicky was first an exceptional football player and highly respected in our dressing room. It was a very sad day for me yesterday not being able to pick him to be in the squad today because there was something at stake. We lose him. We lose Arteta – two exceptional football players but also two leaders in the dressing room. I am convinced that in the bad periods they were a positive influence on the squad and we will miss them next season. So I would like to thank them for what they have done and wish them the best of luck.

on whether Arsenal could finish higher with Wilshere and Cazorla fit…Yes, as first of all I could have rotated a little bit more. You have more variety in offensive game and they are creative players. We played 14 or 15 games more than Leicester. The importance of having your important players available has an impact after a while.

on the lap of honour outshining protests…It is a positive feeling. I am not masochistic enough to love… to be rude… I am in a public job and I accept criticism. I think I have proved in 20 years that I accept being criticised. My target is to keep everyone happy but unfortunately I don’t manage to do it always.

on whether Aston Villa are good enough to come straight back up…Villa is a club who will be sold, I have heard, so it is down to who will buy it, how quickly, what will be the technical policy of the club and investment, and how you recover mentally. As most of the time it is very difficult to cope especially a club who has not been used to drop you know. How quickly you an renew the squad and adjust. But villa should normally stay one year in the Championship.

on Wilshere and Walcott…Jack is fit. Theo has a little hamstring problem. He is sharp but not available. If he is selected tomorrow he is available for Euros.

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