Arsene Wenger spoke to Sky Sports after the 3-3 draw with Liverpool this evening, chatting with Kelly Cates, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.
Here’s how the conversation went.
Cates: It was an incredible game, how would you sum it up?
I felt in the the first half we were paralysed, frozen, we played too deep. We gave too many balls away on long balls, we always looked second best everywhere. It was down mainly to psychological factors, and you could see that the Manchester United game, where we had a bad start had an effect.
What was good at half-time that we were only one down. It could have been game over, and in the second half we have shown quality, character at least played at our level.
We are the team who won the most points from lost positions and you could see why. The team wants to do well, has character, but we played inhibited in the first half.
Cates: What changed at half-time then?
I said to the players that the good thing is that we are only one down. In the second half it’s a great opportunity for us to show a different face, what we did was not good enough. At least go for it, we have nothing to lose.
Carragher: Did you instruct team to play deep because of Liverpool’s pace on the counter?
No, not really. We knew about their pace, but it’s not the message we gave the team, that’s the subconscious message the players put in their mind. They know the players are quick so let’s not make too big a distance.
Sometimes the way to play against pace is to play higher up, you can play them offside, you push them away from the ball. After if you play too deep the midfield has too much space and to come forward, so that was even more dangerous.
Neville: You put lots of trust in Maitland-Niles. How proud were you of him?
I believe Ainsley has good pace, is good at one on ones, and has good recovery runs without making fouls. You know at full back you have to come back and not make the stupid foul, just nick the ball away, and he has that quality. After that, it’s a lack of experience in this position because basically he’s a midfielder, but overall he is 20 years old.
It’s a part of a career. When you get the chance, take it, no matter where you play. And that’s what he did.
Talk me through the four minutes and forty seconds (the goals).
The regret of the night is that at 3-2 we were a bit naive defensively for the third game. It was a thrilling game, but at half-time we would have taken the point. There’s always regrets when it’s 3-2.
If I try to be fair, it’s a fair result.