Press conference

‘People didn't think we'd respond like this'

Arsene Wenger had every reason to be delighted after we navigated a tricky test against AC Milan to reach the last eight of the Europa League.

Here’s what he said in post-match press conference:

on a ‘thorough win’…
It was a difficult game for two reasons. One is that we played against a good side who are unbeaten in Italy for a long, long time and you could see why. Secondly, subconsciously we were in a protective mode a little bit with the handbrake from the start on. Instead of turning the game forward, we played backwards. That’s always the best way to invite your opponent to be dangerous. After that, when we are 1-0 down, you could see straightaway the response was in the team. As soon as we pushed forward, we looked dangerous and I believe overall, we won the two games and finished the games in a convincing way. It was a good game against a solid team and we needed to be resilient and disciplined. But we made a big part and the best part of the job in the first game. It’s always difficult to finish the job. Especially when you have a good away result, because you are a little bit in-between. That’s always difficult.

on there being higher levels of fluidity in our football tonight…
As I told you many times, we had a nightmare week and to recover from that you need to be mentally strong, you need to be solid. The team needs to show, together, a response. That’s what we did. Overall, I think many people didn’t expect us to respond like we did. That shows that the team is healthy, has a good basis and we have seen that for many teams, it is difficult to win at home when you have done it away from home.

on what this result can do for the club and the squad…
Certainly, first for the climate around the team, it was a vital result for us tonight. Apart from that, we have targets as well now to finish as close as possible to the top four. And why not benefit from a miracle? But as well, focus on the quarter-final now.

on Danny Welbeck’s penalty…
I haven’t seen it again. There are two things. Was it a penalty or not? I don’t know. The Italian players were not happy with it, I can understand that, because I don’t really know what it was. After that, Danny took the penalty in a convincing way. I will watch it again and give you my honest feeling about it.

on whether he’ll give Danny his honest opinion…
I will give him my honest feeling about it as well. Don’t worry!

on having the crowd back onside and turning the corner there…
I said many times, the crowd will be behind our back. This club is loved, we have a big fanbase. If we have the results and the way to play football, the crowd will be behind us. When they are not on our side, it’s to show their disappointment. We have to accept that, that’s our job, to get them behind us.

on if fans will continue to come back…
First of all, not everybody can come on a Thursday night. But I think it was a good crowd tonight.

on what the team will do in the two-and-a-half-week gap between games…
Look, all the players go away on international duty. We have four players left. Four of the whole squad. Some of them go with the under-21s. We have four players left. We’ll mix work and recovery but we'll have more coaches than players in the next week!

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