Wenger on Mustafi, Guardiola, Alexis

With Shkodran Mustafi ruled out for the next few weeks with a hamstring injury, Arsene Wenger was asked about who could replace him at Everton.

Read on for the manager’s response, while he also discusses the link between sport and politics and Alexis and Mesut Ozil’s futures.

on coping without Mustafi…It is a challenge, because we had a good defensive stability but we have Gabriel, we have Holding, who can come in for him. Overall, I am confident that both can do well, but that’s one of the tests we have. We have had many tests since the start of the season, players like Cazorla who have suddenly moved out of the team and we have managed to deal with it and that’s another challenge.

on Gabriel’s English…I must say It’s still not perfect. But he’s wanting always to do well. He has adapted very well to the right-back position and I think it helped him to lift his level of confidence. Hopefully he can come in and do well.

on Alexis and Ozil’s futures…What my head and my heart is telling me is: don’t talk about it anymore!

on his own future…My head and my heart tells me not to talk about that too! We are all focused on targets that are of course this season. We don’t have time or energy to think about the rest. I’ve told you many times that I want to do as well as I can for this club for as long as I’m here.

on Pep Guardiola wanting six substitutes…Six is maybe too many. We’ve had that debate many times in Europe. You don’t want to stop the flow of the game too much. We thought about it. When you play extra time in the Champions League, we had that debate and it’s not easy because you have to reduce the substitutions then. You cannot have six substitutions. We see it in pre-season games. When you change player after player, sometimes you sit together before the game and say, ‘If we make the changes let’s make two by two or three by three’. He has a point. It’s good to think about it but it really has to be a bit sophisticated to improve it.

on the government legislating with the FA…My reaction is that football and politics should not deal together. Football is a very special activity that should be ruled by football people. Our target is to be adult enough to rule our own activity. I don’t agree with that. When you look at the history, when sport was linked with politics, it was not always for the benefit of sport.

on if understands the politicians’ frustration…I don’t really know what their frustration is. Football is a sport that has values. You are journalists that love sport, I’ve worked in sport for many years and what we all want is that the values of our sport are respected. I’m not involved in how to manage a federation on a daily basis. I don’t know how difficult it is. Apart from the fact that England has not won the World Cup or the European Championship, I don’t see that there is a crisis in this country.

on if he was surprised by Man City’s result at the weekend…It looked like Leicester had come back to their old selves. They had a strong start - when you’re 2-0 down away from home after five minutes, you know you have a mountain to climb. That can happen to anybody.


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