Arsene Wenger hails ‘pivotal’ win against Sunderland

Speaking after Arsenal’s victory against Sunderland at the Emirates, manager Arsene Wenger praised the team spirit and determination of the players to secure a win despite the injury crisis at the club. The manager admitted that he was extremely nervous ahead of the game, thanks to Arsenal’s winless streak in November, and was very relieved that the team got off to such a good start in December.

Answering the press questions, the manager admitted that the performance was below usual levels for the club, but wrote that down to the personnel changes that had been made. He also insisted that the team would get better with time and hinted strongly that the players would remain unchanged for the trip to Olympiacos as well.

This is what he had to say:

In my mind I was a little bit more nervous than usual because I felt it was a pivotal game. It was our first game without the injured players and we absolutely had to win.

We played against a difficult team who were well organised and good on the break, so all the ingredients were there for a disappointing result. Because we hadn’t won for three games people would have said we were in a crisis, so it was important to get the win.

We were a bit edgy, a bit nervous, in the first half but in the second half we played with more freedom, fluency and incisiveness which is how we won the game. It was a tough one and if you look at the results in the Premier League it was like that.

It’s been a good day for us, because we have won the game and that makes helps us prepare for Olympiacos. Secondly it puts us in an interesting position again and that’s all positive. The squad that was out there for Sunderland – the good news is that we won and that we don’t have any injuries. It makes it obvious for the media to guess who will go to Olympiacos.

The Olympaicos game will decide whether we stay in the Champions League or drop down to the Europa – and as such the manager will definitely field the best side that he can. But he also has to keep an eye on the fixtures ahead; following this weekend’s game against Aston Villa we have back-to-back games against Manchester City and Southampton to look forward to, which will really help determine our title credentials. We will be aided by the fact that City are also suffering from an injury problem at the moment, and if we do manage to beat the Citizens it will be a massive statement of our ambitions for this season.