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‘You can see that Mkhitaryan is adapting to us’

Mesut Ozil celebrates his goal against Ostersunds

The Gunners overcame freezing temperatures and an artificial playing surface to secure a commanding first-leg lead over Ostersunds.

Afterwards Arsène Wenger spoke to the media about his team selection, the pitch and the performances of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

on the result justifying a strong team selection…
Yes, the risk at the start was that I didn’t know how tough the pitch would be for our players. But overall we have no game over the weekend, so it was an easier decision. The only risk was the injuries. I’m happy we had no problems and the pitch was quite good.

on Maitland-Niles’ performance in central midfield…
It’s his natural position. I think 80 per cent of his game was good, and I feel he can win the ball back well. Defensively he’s quite strong, he’s got good acceleration and it’s a positive game for a first run.

on if he could see plastic pitches being used in England…
No, I believe that in England we have good groundsmen. Personally I prefer grass but I can understand in conditions like that to have this kind of surface.

on Mkhitaryan’s performance…
He has worked very hard and it was a positive performance. He adapts slowly to the team and overall he had a positive game tonight.