Premier League – What the managers said: Wenger retracts

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We take a look at how the managers reacted to Saturday’s results as Arsene Wenger had trouble expressing his feelings about Martin Taylor’s horror tackle on Eduardo.

FOOTBALL; William Gallas, Arsene Wenger, Feb 2008 - 0



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Birmingham City 2-2 Arsenal

Arsene Wenger originally calling for lifetime ban on Taylor: “This guy [Martin Taylor] should never play football again. What is he doing on the football pitch? I’ve gone along with the idea for a long time that to stop Arsenal, you have to kick Arsenal. I knew that was coming for a long time now. [Eduardo’s] injury is very, very bad. More than the season is over.”

Wenger’s retraction: “It was a highly emotional afternoon and we were all shocked by the injury to Eduardo. On reflection, I feel that my comments about Martin Taylor were excessive. I said what I did immediately after the game in the heat of the moment.”

Alex McLeish: “Taking the lead was probably unexpected but what a great goal it was. We looked comfortable up to half-time. We probably got a wee bit casual. I thought it’s going to be a long second half. We were prepared to lose it by a heavier margin but boldness, I think, got us a point. It’s certainly not in Martin Taylor’s make-up at all to commit a malicious tackle.”

Birmingham team statement: “The club are saddened that such a fantastic game of football has been marred by a serious injury sustained to Arsenal player Eduardo. But Martin Taylor is adamant there was no malicious intent in the tackle and he is deeply upset by the extent of Eduardo’s injury. Having reviewed the incident, this (no malicious intent) is clearly the case. The club and Martin Taylor would like to send their very best wishes to the player for a speedy recovery.”

Newcastle United 1-5 Manchester United

Kevin Keegan: “I have said all along, we need 40 points this year, and we have got 28. Anybody who has not got 40 points can be relegated – and in the past, teams with 42, 43 have. To get to 40, we need four wins, or three wins and three draws. I am here for three-and-a-half years. That’s what I signed for and that’s what I am here for.”

Alex Ferguson: “The match was decided by the front players, they were just magnificent. It was a good performance and we could have scored more goals. They all did really well – Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo got two each, but the movement of Carlos Tevez and Nani contributed to that. Newcastle is a volatile place to come, but we managed to quieten them down.”

Liverpool 3-2 Middlesbrough

Rafael Benitez: “Last summer we had 10 names we were considering, then it was down to three. But we went for [hat-trick scorer Fernando Torres] because he was hungry and had the style to handle the Premier League. It is difficult to score 20 goals for anyone in a season, but he has done that well before the end of the campaign. Everything is possible now for him as he progresses in the game here.”

Gareth Southgate: “We feel we have given Liverpool a hell of a game and we did enough, we felt, to have taken something from the match. But the sending-off came when we looked to have turned the tide with our second goal. An equaliser after that was always unlikely. But there were spells in the game when Liverpool were edgy and we should have been able to take advantage of that.”

Fulham 0-1 West Ham

Roy Hodgson: “I’ve seen [Nolberto Solano‘s winner] on the television. I can say nothing else. It was a clear foul and the goal should have been disallowed. You are not supposed to do these things these days. When you go two studs up in the goalkeepers face and cut him on the shoulder in the bargain, you are very unlucky if the referee says it was goal. It was a very sad way to lose a point. My opinion is that the team was good value for a point.”

Alan Curbishley: “From where I am it looks like he got a clean connection, but I don’t know. Both teams were matched up in similar shapes and there weren’t many goalmouth incidents. When you’re down the bottom it does against you somewhat. We had to keep going and we are pleased with the result.”

Wigan Athletic 2-0 Derby County

Steve Bruce: “I wish the season was finishing tomorrow. But considering where we were the players have done remarkably well. They’ve taken on board what we’ve tried to do. They’ve a fine spirit amongst them, they’re competitive, and we have given ourselves an outstanding chance.”

Paul Jewell: “A lot of the players do not deserve to be here. I never normally slag players off, but I can’t defend the way they’ve played today. And I’m not telling you (the media) anything different than I’ve told them, but today was disgraceful. They wouldn’t win any game at any level playing like that, be it in the Third Division or the Premier League. I asked them in the dressing room ‘do you want to be part of a team that is embarrassing, is a laughing stock?’ That’s what we are becoming.”

Portsmouth 1-0 Sunderland

Harry Redknapp: “If we give Jermain [Defoe] chances he’ll score goals and he could have had another couple today. That’s why we brought him here. Sunderland were tough and I still can’t see them going down even though Birmingham had a marvellous result and Wigan and Bolton also look like getting out of it. I’m just glad we’re not involved in all that. We’re giving it a go for Europe and we’ve got the players here to do it.”

Roy Keane: “It was a bad piece of defending for the penalty. (Niko) Kranjcar is clever and experienced and our lad (Phil Bardsley) stuck his foot out. But we never looked like scoring. David James can never have had an easier game in his career. Maybe one or two of my players were overawed by one or two Pompey players. You shouldn’t be collecting players’ autographs. We’ve lost far too many games too easily and although it was a referee’s decision again today we can’t be victims all the time.”