Arsenal boss says Koscielny’s criticism of team tactics ‘twisted and lost in translation’

PUBLISHED: 10:37 09 February 2017

Laurent Koscielny.

Laurent Koscielny.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

Arsene Wenger was on the defence this morning (Thursday) when he dismissed reports of comments allegedly made by defender Laurent Koscielny as being ‘twisted’ by the press.

Facing media at the Gunners’ weekly press conference at the team’s large training complex in London Colney, he was asked to explain why the French footballer had criticised his team selection and tactics, ahead of its defeat by Chelsea.

The Blues beat Arsenal 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last Saturday (4)

Told by a reporter that the 31-year-old defender’s opinion had been ‘construed’ as questioning Wenger’s judgement, the Arsenal boss was asked: “Are you aware of the comments and what did you make of them?”

He replied: “The comments that have been made are lost in translation. You know [Koscielny’s] words have been twisted.”

Continuing slightly off-tangent, he added: “The players are responsible for their performance, and the club works well, and everybody does his job … and managers are responsible for the results of the team.”

Asked whether he had spoken to his defender, Wenger confirmed that the pair had chatted, but, “when you have a disappointing result, people turn things around, and we are used to that.”

In team news, ahead of this Saturday’s (11) Premier League game at Emirates, against Hull City, Wenger told reporters that, “from Saturday, we have [Mohamed] Elneny back available for the squad, and apart from that, we have questions about Hector Bellerin – he is going every day for tests and we will know tomorrow if it’s a green light to practice or not – at the moment he is not practising.”

Speaking further about Elneny, Wenger said he had been training yesterday with the team, and “was fully focussed and as always, he is a fantastic player with a great mentality, and he was of course disappointed that they [Egypt] lost in the final. But he had a quality session yesterday.”

Asked whether it had been a difficult week, given Arsenal’s recent losses on the field, and the reaction from fans, he replied: “Yeah, of course it has been a difficult week, because we are here to win games and when you don’t win games you are disappointed.”

However he was looking forward to ‘interesting’ games in the week ahead, because there provided Arsenal with a, “good opportunity to show what we are made of. What is at stake is what is in front of us.”

Wenger said that Arsenal had a ‘big fight’ ahead, including in the Champions League and FA Cup.

He is also keen to get the Gunners’ fans behind the team, particularly at such a ‘sensitive’ part of the season, adding, “We have to respond to disappointment together. When you don’t win the game, you have to analyse together - why we don’t win – [then] seek clarity and rectify what didn’t work.”

• Arsenal V Hull City, Premier League, Saturday February 11, Emirates Stadium, 12.30pm


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