Press conference

Wenger - Win gets us out of that negative spiral

We ended a run of three consecutive Premier League defeats, and made it back-to-back clean sheets, in hard-fought win over Watford on Sunday.

Arsène Wenger spoke to the media after the 3-0 victory, praised a landmark achievement for Petr Cech and gave his thoughts on the recent criticism of the team.

on today's game…
I thought we had a very good first half. I regret that we couldn’t take our chances and after that, in the second half, we suffered a bit because Watford put us under pressure. But we dealt well with the set-pieces. After that we stuck together and could take advantage of the weak moments they had defensively. In the end it was a convincing win. Of course, it highlights what Petr Cech has done with 200 clean sheets in his career. That is remarkable. On top of that, he saved a penalty today, that having just seen it again, was a very generous one.

on whether we moved the ball faster today…
I think so, yes. We did. It was an open game, basically. In Milan we moved the ball very quick and today we did again, but today we lost our legs a bit in the second half. A few bad passes came in then, when we lacked a little bit of freshness in the second half.

on it feeling like a big win due to the squad rotation…
I made six changes. I wanted to preserve some players, like Koscielny, who has a little calf problem. With Ramsey I was cautious. Wilshere had given a lot on Thursday night, we had a very physical game on Thursday night. But I wanted absolutely to win this game and it was difficult, but overall, it gets us a little bit out of that negative spiral that we were in.

on whether he feels that we are now close to turning the corner…
Yes. We need some more games. We had a nightmare week, so overall we still have some work to do. But we are on a good way.

on whether the approach to the Milan game was the ‘toughest’ in his career…
I don’t know. There is a lot of negativity. It’s like rain in England, it’s easy to get. I don’t know, basically, how much negativity is out there. I focus on my job and I think I have shown in 22 years that I can do that, that I respect everybody’s opinion and that I focus on my job with total commitment.

on whether he worries about fan apathy and empty seats…
Yes, of course I worry. I want our fans to be behind the team and be happy. But after what happened in that week, it’s a bit understandable. We are in a job where we have to get the fans on our side and do absolutely everything to do it, to achieve it. That’s what we want to do.

on Cech having to wait for his 200th clean sheet in the Premier League…
He had to wait a while to save a penalty! And it’s quite fortunate that it’s against Deeney, you know. On top of that, yes, to get that clean sheet. I believe that in two weeks, his situation shows how football is. In one week he went from hell to heaven. That’s how life can be. But I like the two situations because in the first situation he has shown a lot of humility and responsibility and a record like that witnesses a lot of motivation and a huge level of intelligence. You don’t last such a long time in the game if you are not intelligent.

on whether he is one of the greatest Premier League goalkeepers ever…
I leave that judgement to you, but I think yes.

on Cech surely being up there among the best…
Yes, of course, when you look at what he has achieved. Consistency is always the most difficult in life.

on Mesut Ozil reaching 50 assists in the league faster than anyone else…
Maybe the world has changed, as well. I believe that personally, I like him as a player. When you get negative statements, you have to deal with it. Maybe on that front the players need to be stronger nowadays than before.

on whether he feels that the ‘cojones’ comment earlier in the season motivated his players today…
You cannot be a football player, or any sportsman, without pride. So these things always come a little bit into it. How much? I don’t know. But of course, it plays a part. 

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