Wenger reflects on first pre-season game

Arsene Wenger before Arsenal's friendly against Lens

Arsenal are back - the Gunners drew 1-1 with Lens in their first pre-season game of the campaign, and the boss had plenty to say afterwards...

Read more from the Lens game:

on the result…It’s a good comeback. It was quite an intense game physically. They start their French championship next week and they were quite ready physically. We had to dig deep a little bit to come back but I think that overall it was a good workout for us to have as our first game. It was quite an intense one.

on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain…He has gone through many problems over the last season and hopefully it will not be the same this season. 


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores against Lens


on Sam Allardyce being England manager…I wish him well. Now he can focus on winning the next World Cup. I believe that he has many ingredients to do well for England. He wanted the job for a long time because he was already in contention when Steve McClaren got the job. He has big experience and I wish him well.

on whether Allardyce can make a difference…The team was a bit young to win the European Championship. In two years if they stay together I think they have a better chance. He has lots of experience to help get them into a better position in Russia.

on how difficult his teams are to play against…He has done well recently at Sunderland, getting them out of a very bad position. He has a capacity to get the best out of a team and his sides are always difficult to beat because they are always well organised.

on whether Wenger was interviewed for the job…I wouldn’t like to talk about all the talks the FA had, but I was focused anyway. I always said I respect my contracts and that’s what I do.

on whether he sees himself managing England at some point…First we want to be behind the guy who is in charge now, not talk about me managing England. That would be unfair. He has my full support. No matter who manages England, he has my full support. It’s my second country. I was a supporter of England and I was at every game. I feel there’s something there for this team to come out strong. They had some good patches during the Euros, but they just couldn’t turn up against Iceland. Overall, you feel there is quality in the team.

on whether Allardyce was a surprise choice…No. When you look at the media you cannot be surprised because you talk about it for a while. I don’t know exactly who was a candidate or not.

on whether he was flattered to be linked with the England job…It’s always an honour to manage a country but I’ve said many times in the past that’s it’s more comfortable for me that a guy from the country manages their national team. Why? Because it represents the culture of the country and it’s the national team, so it looks more natural that it’s a candidate from the country.


on the transfer market…I am sure that my chief executive didn’t want to dampen the expectations on that front. We are very active. If we find the right candidates then we will spend the big money. We have already spent big, Until now, nobody has spent more on a transfer than we have in this country. Even if Pogba might fly from Italy to England today, I don’t know… Overall we have made a big investment already but we are active.

on Turan, Lacazette and Icardi…I wouldn’t like to come out on names because if you don’t get them afterwards, people ask why. We are active, very active every day and it’s not over. Today we are on July 22 and the transfer market finishes on August 31. You know that a lot happens in the last week, so it’s a long time to go, but we are active and we are working.

on touring around the world in pre-season…The idea of pre-season is not to travel a lot but play football. We have gone into a different era. I managed to resist for a long time. I don’t know if I’ve become weaker, but our sponsors have certainly become stronger over the years. The pressure on the club today with the sponsors travelling all over the world… We were the last to travel but in the end we did it as well.

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