Q: Was the result more important than the performance today?
A: “Yes, the result was vital today, because we had absolutely to win this game, we couldn’t afford to drop points for two reasons. The first, we are in a catch situation in the Premier League and as well we come out of two massive disappointments. It was interesting as well to see, because we were focused, united, a bit nervous. You could see we played a little bit with the handbrake in some situations. The second goal didn’t come. But as well we were strong because when Villa came back to 1-1 we found the resources and responded again and won the game. Overall, I feel the regret we have is we could have scored many, many goals today. We created unbelievable number of chances but didn’t score. But I’m proud of the attitude of the team, we went through some difficult days, and we got through in a united way.”
Q: How do you assess the race for the top-four with a difficult game at Tottenham next week?
A: “We cannot drop points. I said that many times, after the Chelsea game, and that is what is in our mind. No matter where we go and who we play.”
Q: Have these been the most difficult days in your 16 years here?
A: “I don’t know, but it was the difficult, it’s not the critics, it’s the fact we lost two games. I’m not here to lose games, I want to win football games and what hurts me the most is that we lost against Blackburn here at home, and against Bayern at home and when people come to the Emirates they have not to go away with wins. After that, all the rest honestly concerns me less.”
Q: You lost those games, but they’ve not been good games, it’s been a dreadful few days?
A: “Yes of course, but you do your job. You do your job and you focus on the next game, and try to win the next game and that’s what I did. I am not 30 years, in this job at the top level, and be destroyed by people saying I don’t know what I am doing. Because I would have stopped this job a long time. What is important is we have responsibilities and we have to stand up for it and go in the next game and fight and get the team ready to fight, that’s all.”
Q: You have to put the pressure on Tottenham, and hope they slip up?
A: “We are in a catch up situation, we depend a little bit on the results of the other teams. But last year on our consistency. The key for us is to be consistent, and that’s why today a draw would have been a very, very bad result for us today.”
Q: Some great performances today, notably from Santi Cazorla and Szczesny.
A: “Santi Cazorla played very well and delivered in a game that was very important. He is a great player, what you have noticed already since the start of the season, straight away he has shown he is a great football player and I’m happy and grateful he delivered these two important goals today.”
Q: You played Wilshere further forward today, is that a role you see him in the future?
A: “It gives us a bit more security defensively. I believe he can play a bit deeper but he has a little burst in the final third and still has the quality I think to play in there, but you want him to score goals there, you want him to give assists, I think he can do it.”
Q: Does Diaby have an injury?
A: “Yes. He told me he got kicked on the hip, after he felt his calf. I don’t know how bad it is.”
Q: Has Cazorla exceeded your expectations with 11 league goals this season, joint top with Walcott more than a number 9, or your number 9, Podolski?
A: “I didn’t expect him to score so many goals, no, because there’s still I think 11 more games to go, so he could get a few more. For me he is the complete football player, because he has as well spirit. He did fight until last-minute, he was a bit tired in the end but he did continue to fight. He is a good example to follow, because everyday he is happy to come and play, practice, and when he is on a football pitch he gives you absolutely everything.”