Press conference

'Support and commitment cannot be in and out'

Arsene Wenger managed about two hours’ sleep in between landing in London in the early hours of Friday and sitting down for a pre-match interview later that morning.

But the manager was in a good mood after watching his team snatch a 1-0 win thanks to a stunning late goal from Olivier Giroud in front of a noisy crowd in Belgrade.

Next up for us is a trip to Goodison Park to face an Everton side that has struggled this season and saw their own Europa League hopes dented by a home defeat to Lyon on Thursday.

Read on for Wenger’s take on a busy week and another away game:

on how much confidence Thursday’s win will give us ahead of Sunday…
It is good to be in a comfortable position to qualify. You want to do the job as quickly as possible. We also wanted to respond quickly after our win at Watford with a positive result because it quickly becomes a burden. In a very heated atmosphere, it was quite positive.

on Everton only having two wins from 12…
It’s very difficult for me to assess the situation of our opponents. I believe Everton are a good side and it’s always very difficult at Everton. We just want to focus on ourselves and our own performance. That’s all we can do.

on manager Ronald Koeman being under pressure…
It’s part of our job and it’s linked with the last result. He has enough experience to deal with that. Unfortunately it’s part of it. What you want to do in these kinds of situations is always just focus on how well you can do.

on whether it’s a good time to play Everton…
We are in the position as well where we want to strengthen our position in the league. After a negative result, we want to respond very quickly. Is it a good or a bad time to play Everton? I can give you the answer at the end of the game. Before the game you never know how difficult the game will be, but you prepare to give your best and you prepare in your mind to play against a team who will play well.

on whether fans’ opinions of the team is in the back of his mind…
It is in the back of your mind to always prepare your team in the best possible environment. What is for sure today is that fans have a preconceived idea of how the season will be very quickly, that it will not be good. In football, even the best team in the world will have good or bad games. That’s why the most important thing at the end of the day is to convince your fans that having a positive season doesn’t depend on one or two games.

You can only have a positive season if we are all behind the team until the end of the season. Then you can accept the verdict. It is for sure that to be in and out with your support or your commitment as a player, it doesn’t work. Top-level sport today demands consistent commitment on every front because it’s so difficult to win the games. I can completely understand that people are unhappy when you don’t win. You can understand that but as long as the game goes on, you want people to be behind the team.

on how important it is that the players don’t have any complacency on Sunday…
I don’t think that we are under any threat of being complacent. That’s one of the few positives of what happened to us on Sunday. We will be on our toes, focused and we will be ready to have a go. I don’t believe that we are under threat of that.

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