Date: 10th January 2017 at 10:04am
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There was certainly plenty for manager Arsene Wenger to talk about following the weekend’s FA Cup third round victory over Preston North End.

Travelling to Deepdale looking to book our place in the fourth round draw that took place yesterday evening, Arsenal went behind in the 7th minute of the game and had to fightback once more to take a two one victory on the day – goals from Ramsey and Giroud – and speaking to the Official Site in his post game press conference, Wenger was obviously pleased with the comeback and disappointed with conceding the early strike, but Olivier Giroud took the praise to begin with.

‘He can`t stop scoring. He had some good service as well today. But everybody contributes in the squad and it`s moments in the season where you have to use the players when it all goes for them. Giroud has shown that at the moment in the last month he is always very decisive. I must say, the team has great ambition, a great togetherness and they respond always when they are in trouble and that`s a great quality.’

With Giroud wearing the armband on the night, Wenger ended by saying that he certainly didn’t let himself down.

‘He scored recently many goals. In the squad, everybody contributes. It`s not about 11 and he is at the moment in good form. So for one month he scores goal after goal. I named him captain, I like to rotate the captaincy. He went through a period where he was of course in discomfort because he didn`t play and during this period that was quite long. He kept his focus and worked, I think he has shown leadership qualities so I made him captain today.’

As ever, with his own record as a manager in the competition, Wenger’s thoughts on the FA Cup featured post game and with declining interest from some and the rise of the Champions League he was asked what he’d change about the format – he wouldn’t change anything.

‘What do you want more? I think it was a great tie today. I came here with a team of quality, 80 per cent of the players who played today played at Bournemouth and the rest were out. But I think maybe the first round, the third or fourth round, people are a bit more ambivalent but after when it gets to the final stages, everybody is absolutely focused on it.’

Adding.

‘I don`t know why people have not a positive opinion of the cup. It`s more the press I think. I think so. Inside our game, I would have been devastated if we had gone out tonight. So we are all focused to compete, really. Somebody reminded me yesterday that I had not gone out in the third round in 20 years. That`s because I care about the competition, but overall, no I think it`s every year a debate. For me it`s no debate, it`s a fantastic competition.’

Moving on to more specific game thoughts, Wenger went on to say that coming from behind again was pleasing owing to the character shown but obviously he wished we’d start games a touch brighter at points.

‘I think since the start of the season we had many, many, many comebacks and many goals in the final minutes. I would first like to congratulate Preston for the quality of their game, especially in the first half where we were outpaced and they played with desire, enthusiasm and quality and they gave us many problems. Full commitment for 90 minutes – it was a great cup tie and we needed to dig deep to win the game today. Second half it was all us, but they continued to defend well and we needed to be patient and create something special – we did that in the end. But it was a very good cup tie today.’

Pressed about his half time reaction, the Frenchman admitted he was angry about the performance because for him we should’ve been clear in the game.

‘Yes. We are top level Premier League and we were dominated in the first half. Preston had chances you know and I believe we were just not at the pace of the game or the pace that the game demanded. Of course, I didn`t want to go home and be out of the FA Cup tonight.’

There was also praise for Simon Grayson and the opposition.

‘I would say their organisation, the speed of their transitions when they won the ball. Every time, we were in trouble. Overall, their intelligence, I think they played in a very intelligent way. They are a good side you know and honestly, I was really impressed by them today.’

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