It could not have been easy for Arsene Wenger to face the press after seeing his Arsenal side struggle and eventually lose against our fierce local rivals Tottenham in the north London derby yesterday. But that is one of the things you have to do, unless you decide to throw the dummy out of the pram like Jose Mourinho or Alex Ferguson have done in the past.
And while the Frenchman was clearly not happy about the play acting and bad tackle by Danny Rose and was surely less than impressed by the one-sided and generally poor officiating by the referee Martin Atkinson, he kept his cool and just suggested that the ref had been like the Gunners in having an off day. Wenger showed a real touch of class by admitting that the Gunners had been second best on the day, as an Arsenal.com report shows.
He did not have to, especially with the ill feeling between the two clubs, and he did not have to heap praise on the player that caused the Gunners most of our pain, Harry Kane, either. Many managers would not think to praise any player not in their own team but Wenger was fulsome in his praise of the young striker, declaring that he must surely be in the next England team picked by Roy Hodgson.
I like the way the boss did not try to absolve the blame form Arsenal because it should encourage the players to take the responsibility for this defeat and make sure to put it right in the games coming up.
He said, “We defended well. We scored early but I think going forward, we didn’t produce enough. When we went forward, we always looked dangerous to score but were we too focused to defend our goal? I think so.
“I believe that we made too many technical mistakes compared to our usual level, because of Tottenham in the middle of the park. They put us under pressure and we lost some balls we are not used to losing.
“`[Kane] was good as always. He grows and he has a good determination. He doesn’t stop, he keeps going. The regret I have is that we gave him a cheap goal. It’s worrying that at the back, with five minutes to go, we are always there ready to make the same mistakes. Overall, we defended with solidarity but the biggest regret is that we didn’t have a good day. We can do much better – that is for sure and that is the positive of the day.”
Maybe Wenger has seen the photos of Kane wearing an Arsenal shirt as a boy and is thinking that he might do a Sol Campbell one day and swap the spuds for a proper club.