'We had to respond - that's what we did'

Arsene Wenger was a happy man after his side secured their place in the Emirates FA Cup semi-finals with a 5-0 win against Lincoln City.

It was a morale-boosting result following a tough run, and the boss admitted he was relieved with the display when he faced the media after the game:

on making it into the semi-finals…
We were a bit nervous because your confidence drops when you don’t have the results. The team was unjustifiably criticised for our last game against Bayern Munich because we had an outstanding game. The game was killed not by the fault of the players but we have to take a distance with us and have a look at a bigger perspective than people want to do. Overall we had to respond today and that’s what we did. We had an outstanding game against Bayern Munich but our game was killed by the referee. I watched this game three times now and it’s still the referee who killed our game.

on why he put out a strong team…
I didn’t want to gamble today because I knew that it was very important to win the game and I felt as well that the team had performed well against Bayern and I wanted to give them a chance to find their confidence back by winning the next game. That’s why I maintained 90 per cent of the players in the starting line-up. They have been hit very hard after the game [against Bayern] and that is always dangerous because your confidence can go very quickly.

on whether the group has discussed the Bayern game together…

on whether any players said they let him down…
I would like to watch the game with you. You will see that the players did not let me down. Nor themselves, nor the club. I think we had an outstanding performance as long as we were 11 against 11.

on whether scoring five goals pleased him…
I think we had two different five-goal games. The first one at Bayern, I accept that we collapsed in the second half. But when you are down to 10 men against a team of that quality and you conceded a penalty, get a sending off and you find yourself down to 10 men with four goals to score, it is not a football game anymore.

on whether he is happy now…
I’m always focused on the next game. Overall I am of course happy that we won the game today, but I know that what is in front of us is more important. To keep the team focused, we go to West Brom and after we have an international break. It’s important, we’ve lost some ground with some teams at the top.


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