Arsenal boss Wenger ahead of North London derby: It is better to be efficient than tough
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Read the transcript of Arsene Wenger’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s eagerly-awaited North London derby against Spurs as he insists it’s not about being tough it’s about being efficient.
On fans and Arsenal legends questioning his teams’s toughness...
Well, that’s the kind of remarks you’ve had for 20 years. I remember many people asked me if Pires would be tough enough to play in the derby. This is a guy who scored more goals than anybody in the derby. At the end of the day, it’s down to the quality of the game.
Are this team as tough as his great sides…
Yes, it depends. We have to agree on what is tough and what is not tough. I believe that a football player has to be efficient and that counts the most. Efficiency if you’re a defender is not to make any mistakes and to win the ball. If you’re a striker, it’s to put the ball into the back of the net. Is that tough? It doesn’t matter too much - it’s how efficient you are in your game.
On Lacazette and whether he will start his first big game for the club…
I have a big choice to make every time, big decisions to make up front. But he’s played many games, Alexandre Lacazette. He didn’t play away from home at City, I think that’s the only game he didn’t start [along with Liverpool]. I trust him completely.
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WIll Lacazette will start on Saturday…
The decision is not made yet but it’s a possibility because he’s available.
Is there a plan to deal with Harry Kane…
To keep him quiet, yes.
Is Kane the Spurs player Arsenal fear most…
We have no fear, we are just focused on nullifying their strong points and expressing our strong points.
On Jack Wilshere...
To keep fit and work hard and it is what he does at the moment. It’s going well for him. At the moment he is on plan and slowly I think he will get into the [plans] of Southgate again and his creative aspects of his game, if he keeps fit, will be a big asset for him.
Is Jack close to starting for Arsenal in the Premier League…
Yes, he is very close. Just a question for me is to decide to start him or not, but he is ready to play.
On Serge Aurier…
He’s a good player who has good power to go forward and is always dangerous. He played against us with PSG and overall I think he is a top-class right back.
On the BBC survey suggesting that young fans aren’t going to football…
I think nothing is better to share the experience of a stadium, inside a stadium and there are many ingredients now in the modern game that could incite people not to go so much. First of all the lifestyle is a bit different, they play less, they play more on computers, that is a bit more an individual experience than a collective experience, playing with your partners is collective, playing on the computer is more of an individual experience. After that you have the fact that the security in gathering people is a problem as well in the heads of many. After, can you afford as well to go to the stadiums? When you are young you that’s not always easy so there are many ingredients we need to take care of in the game.