Szczesny After Sunderland Match

15 minutes after the Sunderland victory, Szczesny gave this interview to arsenal.com in full:

“It’s great [the atmosphere in the dressing room]. I thought we deserved the win for the urgency in our penalty box. Some of the players were fantastic. Bacary came in at centre-back and cleared everything that was played in to the penalty box, so I think for our attitude and desire to win the game we totally deserved the three points.

“It was difficult, we know once we went down to 10 men they were going to take control of the game and put balls in the box. I struggled a little bit with their delivery, I thought [Adam] Johnson on corners from our left side, gave me and us a lot of trouble. We got away with it a couple of times but in the end we did enough to keep a clean sheet and that gave us a result.

“Yeah, we’re under pressure to catch [Tottenham] up, and we knew that we had to win the game. We don’t play next week because we’ve got an FA Cup game so we knew we had to make up the ground, and that’s what did.

“Yeah it was a good goal, I thought we could have scored a couple more but once again their goalkeeper was in top form in the first-half, made some very good saves so we probably would have wanted to come in at half-time with a bigger lead, but 1-0 was enough in the end, so we’re very happy.

“I think we proved to a lot of people today that we have what it takes to be successful, because it wasn’t the best game in terms of quality, but we showed everyone the character and the desire we had to get the result, and we’re delighted with the way we won the game.

“Yeah, I think you always expect a very tough game when you go up north. Even worse when it’s a Wednesday night and it’s raining, but even on Saturday like this it’s always a tough game. They play very direct football, they’re very strong and they have desire to get the result, and that’s what Sunderland did today. I thought they played really well. We just stood up against it, and showed the character and desire.

“Well I still struggled a little bit on crosses, so I would have been more happy if it had been a faultless performance. I just made a couple of saves that helped the team win the game, I’m happy for that, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“Yeah, it was difficult. I think once Carl got sent off, we played with a back-four that’s never played with each other, so it was very difficult but I thought they all did a tremendous job. As I said before, especially in our penalty box, every ball that was played across goal we have been first to and we cleared it so they deserve a lot of credit for the way they played today.

More From the Sunderland Match:

Wenger’s Reaction

Match Analysis

Match Report and Player Ratings

Wenger’s Reaction to Beating Sunderland

Speaking to arsenal.com, Wenger had this to say:

“It’s a massive victory for us today, but I am as well pleased of course with the three points but as well with the way we played. We had moments of brilliance today, and when we needed to defend we could see we were up for it. We did fight, we did play, and we got the three points.

“The only negative side of today’s game is that of course we got a player sent off. But as well especially I would say that we didn’t take our chances because we could have scored 6/7 clear-cut chances, and we didn’t take them. Apart from that it was a fantastic game.

“Our character was questioned many times, and you have seen today that we have plenty. I liked the last 20 minutes where we pushed in our back and we headed for every single ball, we did fight like mad for every single ball, and that’s fantastic to see.

“[Szczesny] was excellent today. Like Bac, like Per, they were excellent. The central defence and goalkeeper were excellent today and I hope that will improve his confidence.

“Sometimes you have just to dig in and play in uncomfortable positions for some players, but when we have the desire to win, it helps a lot.

“Yeah [it’s going to be a close battle for fourth], but there’s many games to go and we are in the fight and we have shown today the most important that we are ready for a fight.”