Q: How has your squad coped with the FA Cup upset ahead of the Bayern game?
A: “Well we focus on tomorrow’s game and that’s it. The game of the week is the Champions League, you cannot compare the FA Cup with the Champions League so we focus on that and that’s the best way. Everybody would be in our position in England, we have only two teams qualified in the Champions League, so I don’t know why we should not cope with that.”
Q: So many times we’ve seen these Champions League tie decided by the away time performance. Does that affect the way you approach this home leg?
A: “Well I think what is important is we focus on the quality of our game. We know it’s played over 180 minutes, I have enough experience to know that and the first 90 are tomorrow and we have to put in our head that we have 180 minutes to qualify and not to rush our game.”
Q: Any team news changed since the weekend?
A: “No, what has changed is that Monreal is not available. Mertesacker will be back in the squad. There is an uncertainty about Koscielny, and Jenkinson is avaiable again in the squad.”
Q: After Saturday, do you face a job convincing the players they can get a result against Bayern?
A: “No, why? Why? Well you have to take a distance with that, you know that happened to many teams. To analyse the game we lost against a team who had one shot on goal. It’s not like we have not touched the ball in the game against Blackburn. Football is part of skill, intelligence and some things as well are a bit unpredictable.”
Q: Have you paid a heavy price in not winning the group, drawing one of the toughest teams?
A: “Well what is important is that you play to win the competition and at some stage you will have to play a big team. We play against a good opponent. If I listen to your questions, anyway not favourite, but I trust our quality, I trust our spirit, and I trust our mental strength, so see you tomorrow.”
Q: Do you feel you can have similar Champions League experience to Chelsea?
A: “Well what is important is that we play at our best, and play with belief tomorrow night. I believe in our quality, I think we are on good run overall of course. It’s always difficult to take a distance with the recent emotions, the fact is that in the last 11 games in the Premier League, we lost 2. We are on a good run in the Premier League. We give some strength out of the team, and what we want to do is play with that strength.”
Q: Are these 2-year contract extension reports true?
A: “That’s a wrong information, and there as well I think I worked for 16 years here in England and I deserve a bit more credit than wrong informations, that have only one intention, is to harm. If it’s good information who comes from nowhere, that’s alright, but this is the wrong information that comes from nowhere, and is completely wrong.”
Wenger hits out at a journalist, who sounds like Sunday Supplement’s, Neil(they spoke about Wenger’s time being up, on Sunday), who didn’t ask a question.
“I look at you not because you give information, I don’t know if it’s you? I don’t know where this information comes from? Yeah, why do you look at me?
“Yeah, why do you look at me?”
“Because it’s your Press Conference, it’s not my story.”
“Okay, oh thank you. I just thought, you have given this information out.”
“No, I’m looking at you because it’s your Press Conference, Arsene.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
Q: The fans are very upset about the cup exit..
A: “Look here, is a pre-match conference for Champions League. You want to talk about Saturday? Press Conference was made after the game. If we can get some questions, about tomorrow’s game, that would be very nice. OK?”
Q: What has Podolski, an ex-insider, told you about Bayern’s side?
A: “Podolski has not played for a long time at Bayern Munich, and the team has changed since. So what is important is that we know well Bayern Munich, there is no secrets any more about the teams and their organisation.”
Q: Can you tell us about the quality of the defence of Bayern Munich?
A: “No, I don’t talk about Bayern Munich today.”
Q: How important is it to keep a clean sheet?
A: “It’s vital. Because 0-0 at home is a very good result in the Champions League knock-out. Of course we’ll try to score goals, but 0-0 is not a disaster at home. But we are team who is offensive and will try to go forward and try to score goals.”
Q: Is it difficult to find a balance between getting a positive result and not conceding a goal?
A: “Yes, but the most important aspect is we have a way to play that everybody knows in the team. The most important aspect is that we play with positive mentality, because that’s not completely the case when you go in a game like that, when 24 hours before the game it’s important that you believe you have a good chance and quality enough to win. I think the psychological aspect, especially after what’s happened on Saturday, is more important than anything else.”
Q: Could that make the team play with more freedom, when everyone’s saying you have no chance to go through?
A: “We know well how it’s going here, what is important is to forget what people say and focus on our strengths. We are play for Arsenal football club, in the last 16 of the Champions League. We have qualified now for a long, long time. We know what is important. It is not what people say, it is what we produce on the football pitch. We live in a democracy of experts and opinions, but we have to live with that, and to cope with that, and show we have the mental strength to deal with any opinion. There are a lot of experts who are not necessarily always right.”
Q: This is your last chance to win a trophy this season, can you talk to the fans about your desire to bring trophies back to this club?
A: “Look, I have been accused of not taking seriously the FA Cup, on Saturday. I have won 4 times the FA Cup, who has won it more? Give me one name.”
Q: I haven’t accused you of not taking it seriously..
A: “Then the second thing is we have been accused of not putting a strong team out. I think that’s an insult to the players who started the game, because we had 11 international football players on the pitch. I would like to tell you as well, we didn’t lose the game with the players who started the game, we lost it in the last 20 minutes. There’s a wrong of superficial analysis that you cannot accept. We accept that we have to take the blame because we went out, but for the rest, you have as well to put things in to perspective and when you analyse things you have to do it not superficially, and when one guy says something, everybody goes the same one.”
Q: So your desire to lift a trophy is still there isn’t it? To lift a trophy in the Champions League?
A: “No, I want to lose it and I want to lose the game tomorrow so you can all be happy. Of course we want to win it, but in Europe recently you face teams with qualities, Barcelona, Real Madrid, they don’t win it every year. We have been consistently there, but now we want to break through. We have been in the final, we have been in the semi-finals, we have been in the quarter-finals, for years. People will say maybe it’s not the best opportunity now to do it, I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to do it because I believe I have a strong team and I’m sure they will prove me right.”
Q: Lukas Podolski, can you say something about his development?
A: “His development has been very positive, I hope he’ll show it tomorrow.”
Q: Do you think it will be a difficult game for the two Germans tomorrow?
A: “You never know before if it will be easy. I don’t think psychologically it will stop them playing their best.”