Arsene Wenger: “At some stage, you need to respond”

Arsene Wenger: “At some stage, you need to respond”


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says a response from his side was always going to come as they claimed their first win in five matches.

The Gunners took one step closer to the Europa League quarter-finals as goals to Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey led Wenger’s side to a 2-0 victory over AC Milan.

And after losing four matches in 10 days, Wenger admitted it was difficult for his side to recover during that time – likening them to a boxer.

“It’s what we wanted. At some stage, you need to respond,” he told a press conference.

“We have won a game, (but) we are not qualified. It will lift the belief of the team because we lost three games in six days.

“In England, we have a strange system. We played a cup final in the middle of the season and then again against the same opponent on Thursday.

“It’s like a boxing match. We had no time to recover, no breather. We needed to find mental resources and not just accept because we are disappointed that we will lose the game.

“When you have this big disappointment, you forget quickly that you have this big quality. Nothing is permanent in life. We need to be pragmatic. Sport is sport.

“We started the game and faced three corners and maybe got away with it. We need to accept that and maybe no one accepts that coincidence is part of the game.”

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey hailed his teammates’ character in the win, urging a consistent mindset.

“It’s never easy to come to San Siro and play AC Milan; I know from past experience. I’m really pleased that we came here and we got the win,” he told BT Sport.

“I think we played very well in the first half, we created many opportunities and moved the ball well. Second half, we wanted to protect it a bit more, and we kept a clean sheet, which is always important.

“We’ve been on a bad run and sometimes, as hard as you try out on the pitch, it doesn’t seem to work. But we’re trying hard and we tried to do the right things. We know what we’re capable of.

“A lot of people are always going to talk – it’s their job to talk. It’s important for us to keep focused and try and improve.

“We know what we’re capable of doing and we just have to produce that more consistently.

“It’s nice that we’ve turned a little corner.”

Meanwhile, on the opposing side, Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci questioned Milan’s own mentality, suggesting they were “a little scared”.

“We did not have the right mentality right from the get go,” Bonucci told Sky Sport Italia.

“We were a little scared since we are so young. Let’s hope we learn from this.

“It is hard but we will have to give it a go (in the second leg). Anything can happen in football so we have to stay positive.

“Arsenal ran a lot and they have a lot of quality but we also made mistakes. We didn’t play as a team so that’s what you get. We had to be smarter and more responsible with the ball, this we know.

“We were too nervous and excited, everyone made mistakes. In the second half we played with more courage but it wasn’t enough. Credit to Arsenal, who played a great first half.

 “If we play in London with the same spirit we showed in the second half, we might be able to pull it off.”