Mertesacker was taught a lesson, admits Wenger
PUBLISHED: 11:25 21 November 2011
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted defender Per Mertesacker had been taught a valuable lesson by striker Steve Morison at Carrow Road - though he still believed the goal that gave Norwich City the lead should not have stood.
The vastly experienced Germany international centre-back dithered over Marc Tierney’s through-ball, enabling Morison to prise the ball away from him and tuck away his third goal in successive games to give the Canaries a 1-0 advantage.
Wenger was discussing the goal at the post-match Press conference when, coincidentally, a replay of the incident appeared on the screen at the back of the room.
“I must say I was upset with the referee at the time and will check that on television because I thought that Morison brought him down,” said Wenger after his side’s 2-1 win.
“You see it just now, he brought him down with his left hand – but I told him (Mertesacker) as well that in England, once you are in front of a striker and you run towards your goal, maybe in many countries you are safe but not in England and that’s what he has learned today.”
Wenger was delighted to see his team come from behind to record a fifth successive Premier League victory.
He said: “We missed early chances. In the first 20 minutes I think we had three clear-cut chances and then we were 1-0 down.
“That made the game difficult against a very dynamic Norwich side, but with our backs to the wall, we responded well again, like we did at Chelsea.
“In the second half once we got to 2-1, we controlled the game well and were never really in trouble.
“Overall it was a very positive win. The team is growing from game to game. It’s getting stronger and you feel there is some mental strength inside there.”
Most of the questioning, however, centred on the future of Wenger and striker Robin Van Persie, whose two goals sank the Canaries.
“Van Persie is 28, Fabergas and Nasri left at 24. My dream is that Van Persie stays until the end of his career at the club. I will do the maximum I can to try to convince him and I hope I will manage to do that,” said Wenger.
“He is one of the best. He is exceptional, he has something that you cannot give to people. Today he finished with a chip on his right foot. I have never seen a bigger left-footed player than Robin van Persie but he always makes the right decision in a fraction of a second and that makes him really exceptional.”
Wenger, 62, played down comments he made in an interview with French newspaper L’équipe suggesting he may quit the Gunners.
He said: “It was a conversation I had with the journalist where he said ‘Is there no way at all you will ever leave this club?’
“I said the only way I would consider it is if at the end if the season I felt I didn’t deliver what was expected from me. Then, of course, if you say you love the club and feel you are below what people are expecting from you, that is the only way I would consider.
“I have to honestly rate the quality of my work at the end of the season and think ‘Did I take the maximum amount out of the team or not?’
“You want me to say now ‘If I do not take Arsenal into the top four, then I will quit’, which is what I will not say.
“I am personally committed to the club and will respect my contract until the end. I have shown that in the past and will do in the future.
“This is the club of my life, and it will remain so, unless I feel I don’t do well enough.”