Wenger on Alexis and his contract

Alexis in action against Liverpool

Arsene Wenger went from interview to interview following Saturday’s defeat at Liverpool and was asked again and again about Alexis.

The Chilean forward started the game at Anfield on the bench before coming on at half-time to set up a goal for Danny Welbeck.

Wenger’s decision to bench Alexis raised eyebrows and one reporter asked if it was linked to the player's contract situation.

“No, not at all,” replied the boss. “I do not consider the contract situation when a guy has 18 months to go.

“You make a [selection] decision and people always have a very emotional analysis and an emotional response to this kind of decision.

“I wanted us to play direct and by direct I mean to win the ball in the air and to win the second ball. We do play it sometimes.”

Saturday’s defeat leaves us scrapping with Tottenham, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs for a place in the top four - assuming that Chelsea cannot be caught at the top of the table. So is this year’s chase for a Champions League place going to be harder than ever?

“No, not necessarily, no,” said Wenger. “It has always been hard, sometimes you got in in the last game of the season.

“It is like that and it is a big disappointment [to lose at Liverpool]. But when you come to Liverpool, that can happen. We had to survive the first 45 minutes and we tried to, but unfortunately the first goal I think had a big impact on the team. After, we responded very well in the second half.”

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