IT’S hard to keep a level head when all around are trying to mess with it.
But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger just about succeeded in Saturday’s post-match Press conference.
Fuming though he was at a couple of perceived injustices in the goalless draw against Sunderland, he wasn’t going to offer the Sunday hacks easy headlines.
Disappointed with the performance, Arsene? “No.”
What about the disallowed goal that wasn’t offside? “Well, what I can do about it?”
Don’t you want to have a go at the officials, Arsene? “No.”
It would give us a line ...
It was hard not to laugh at the persistent, faintly pathetic, line of questioning but the Gunners boss did not crack a smile.
“I can understand that you laugh,” he said, stone-faced. “But if you were in my position you would not laugh about it
“I have my job to do, which is to prepare the team for matches. The officials have their job to do, which is to get their decisions right, which they did not. And you have your job, which is to make opinions.”
The opinion of most in the room was that Arsenal were nearly, but not quite, good enough to cement a win – an opinion which Wenger would not have disagreed with too much.
“I’m very happy with the performance,” he said. “Defensively, we were very good and we gave a lot physically.
“But I felt we lacked a little bit sharpness and technical quality in the final third.
“It’s frustrating because we gave everything but lacked a little bit sharpness in front of goal.
“We had problems finding our fluency, but I put that down a lot to the quality of Sunderland’s defending.
“They marked us man for man and made it difficult.”
Wenger would not have been human had he not rued the Andrey Arshavin “goal” being chalked off though.
“That decision punished us severely because it was the sort of game you look to win 1-0 and that would been the one,” the Frenchman conceded.
“To win the game 1-0 was important for us and we did not do that.
“It’s another disappointment. You do not want it to go against you, but it has and all we can do now is focus on Tuesday night and the game against Barcelona.
“Generally though, I have to be happy that, in our last 11 games, we have now had eight wins and three draws – we have been quite consistent with our results.”
Wenger was right to keep his head.
Events at Liverpool yesterday meant the upshot of the weekend’s games was that Arsenal cut back Manchester United’s lead at the top from four points to three.