Wenger on Payet, Bilic and Southgate

Our away form, West Ham’s home form, Gareth Southgate’s appointment as England manager and criticism of Dimitri Payet.

They were among the issues raised at Arsene Wenger’s press conference on Friday. Read on for more of the manager’s quotes:
on four out of next five games being away…
[The response is to] focus on the next one and rely on the confidence we have rebuilt with the win against Bournemouth. I believe that from the strength we have shown away from home, [we can] rely on the belief that we can do well absolutely everywhere.
on last season’s 3-3 draw with West Ham…
I remember it, because we were 2-0 up and cruising and playing well and suddenly it was 2-2 just before half-time. We conceded two goals, after that we were 3-2 down just after half-time and I think it’s Koscielny who equalised after for the 3-3. It was an important game for us at that stage of the season and we came out of it disappointed because we were 2-0 up - you expect to win the game. We conceded two cheap goals on the day, and in fact it was Carroll who scored two good goals.
on Gareth Southgate’s appointment as England manager…
It didn’t surprise you nor me.
on whether the FA ever spoke to him…
I speak always with The FA, because I am a long time in English football, so when things go on, sometimes they contact me, yes.
on whether he was ever approached about the England job…
Look, I need to keep confidential my conversations with the FA.
on playing at the Olympic Stadium for the first time…
Before, we knew exactly what was expected of us at West Ham. I preferred the first version of the West Ham stadium, when it was very tight. When they built a new stand the distances were a bit bigger and that probably made the first one the most intimidating stadium I knew. It’s a bit like when we moved to the Emirates. You feel a bit like you’re playing on neutral ground for a while. After that, the best way to prepare is just to focus on what we do and focus in a very strong way. 
on West Ham’s strengths…
When you look at West Ham, they have a very strong squad. They have players of top quality, and recently they have picked up. They had a difficult start to the season but recently they’ve picked up with their quality and they played well against Tottenham and Manchester United. They are difficult fixtures so overall it will be a very tight and intense game. 
on whether criticism of Dimitri Payet is fair…
Not really because Payet is, even for France, one of the star players. He has fulfilled his potential maybe a bit late in his career. West Ham were certainly one of the triggers for him, to come into English football, to have to adapt and show that he has potential. Not only did he convince everybody in England last year that he’s a top-class player, but through those performances he also won his place in his national team’s European Championship squad. 
on whether he has sympathy with Slaven Bilic…
I have sympathy for every manager because I know what you go through when you don’t always have the expected results. I think he has done a very good job there and that he has built a very strong squad. I’m sure that will come out in the long run.
on whether he has been the London Stadium…
I went to the Olympic village to meet some athletes, but I couldn’t go to the Olympics, no.

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