Wenger on Mbappe, Kante and Lampard

How have you coped with watching from the stands? What do you think of Kylian Mbappe? How highly did you rate Frank Lampard?

Those were among the questions put to Arsene Wenger at Friday’s pre-match press conference. Read on for the manager’s responses:

on not being in the dugout…Look, I managed to communicate [in previous games]. We’ve sorted it out with Chelsea. I’m happy to be on the same side as my assistants and, overall, yes I can communicate. I lose a bit of direct impact and can compensate that with better vision.

on whether this is a crucial stage of the season to not be on the bench…Look, I don’t think that will have a huge impact. I trust completely my assistant Steve Bould to give the right directives to the players and overall I don’t think that has an explanation for our defeat on Tuesday night.

on Frank Lampard’s retirement and where he stands in Premier League history…Among the top, top, top. I think he was a huge player and the consistency of his performances through the years was absolutely unbelievable. I saw him start at West Ham and honestly I would not have bet that he would have made a career of that calibre. It shows first of all that he was focused, motivated, intelligent and had a huge stamina in his desire to play. He had a quality that you cannot give to players - he got in the box, had the right timing and he was a great finisher, because when he hit the ball, it was never in the stands. It was always on target and that’s why he scored so many goals. He’s a huge player who stops today but I think for England, for the Premier League, he had already stopped. He had been in the States but of course he has been absolutely tremendous.

on Kylian Mbappe…Yes, he has similarities to Thierry Henry. First of all, he’s from the Caribbean as well and he has a huge talent. He plays for Monaco and Thierry Henry played for Monaco. When I was in Monaco I could see with Thierry Henry similarities. But of course after that, what makes the career is the mental aspect that Thierry had. This young boy has to show that he has similar qualities on the mental front that Thierry had.

on if he wants to sign Mbappe…Look, it was at stake last season. But he decided to stay where he was.

on whether he looked to sign Kante…Yes. When he in France, and when he at Leicester.

on what happened…There again, I cannot explain everything but it is quite obvious when you look where he has gone.


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