Wenger on the match and Van Persie

Arsène Wenger

Arsene Wenger faced the media after his team drew 1-1 with Manchester United on Sunday. Here's a transcript from his press conference:

on the match...It was a quality game with a lot of intensity. I believe we were on top in the first half and it was disappointing to concede the equaliser the way we did. Why? Because it put us in a position in the second half where we had to completely open ourselves up and throw everything forward, and sometimes [we did that] more with energy than technique. We opened ourselves up for the counter-attacks where we could have lost the game. I feel that equaliser played a big part in this game because it put us in a difficult position. Overall I can only praise the players for the effort, the dynamic and the desire we put in. Let's keep it going like that and we will have a chance to be where we want to be.

on the value of the point…If we win our other games it will be enough. I am convinced we will be there but there is no room for dropping points. But the other teams are in the same position.

on Sagna's part in the penalty…No [he didn't tell me what was going through his mind]. He is very disappointed tonight, he is a boy who gives absolutely everything in every game. I think he made a bad pass, that can happen, and maybe after he panicked a little bit and maybe wanted to repair too quickly what he did, but he had time to tackle. He has saved us so many times that unfortunately it happened today.

on a fast start…Our mental preparation contributed to that more than the guard of honour. If that would help us I promise you we will do one every week!

on the fans' reaction to Robin van Persie…A little bit, yes [it is "disappointed love"]. Because when he was here he didn't get this kind of reception, they loved him. So today it was a bit disappointed love.

on Van Persie scoring on his return…I don't think he scored, he scored a penalty! It counts, but it is not completely the same. When you buy a goalscorer you look always how many goals he scored on penalties, how many he scored in open play. But he took his penalty very well. I knew when he decided to take the penalty that there was an 80 per cent chance that he would score. He was our penalty taker and I know that he does that very well, he does a lot of things very well, Robin van Persie.

on speaking to Van Persie afterwards…He is in our dressing room at the moment. Because our food is better in our dressing room than in their dressing room! People who play together for five, six years [get on with each other]. They fight, I think our defenders didn't make life easy for him at all, we played with great commitment. I feel our two central defenders played very well.

on Van Persie's non-celebration…Yes, that has become basically another way to behave for the football players in England. I wouldn't be shocked if a guy celebrated because internally he is happy anyway.

on respect before and after the game...We are rivals. Look, at the end of the day we decided to sell him. We are rivals. You want us to make a guard of honour and to respect the champions, then you have to accept as well that respect exists after the game. You want to give absolutely everything during the 90 minutes and after the game you can still talk to each other.

on the race for a top-four finish…[We have] no room for dropping points. We are in a position where we cannot drop points, we know that.

on Sir Alex Ferguson's transfer plans…I don't know but he will not sign them from us!

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