Wenger: I know when I'm right and when I'm wrong


Last updated at 08:36 14 November 2006

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 0

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed 'regret' at his touchline spat with West Ham boss Alan Pardew. After seeing his side overwhelm Liverpool 3-0 and move up to third in the Premiership, Wenger insisted he was keen to leave the incident in the past.

But despite his placatory tone, the Frenchman did not apologise directly for his part in the fracas as Pardew had done straight after last Sunday's game.

"I think Alan Pardew apologised because he was conscious that I felt provoked in a disrespectful way in my area," said Wenger.

"I reacted and I regret it because you should never react. I accept his apology and life goes on. I regret having reacted, but all the rest now can only be boring and a waste of time.

"I won't demand a personal hearing at the FA because for me the incident is over. I've spent 23 years on the bench and I know when I'm right and when I'm wrong."

Asked whether he planned to meet Pardew to discuss their fallout, Wenger added: "I don't work here for my image. I work here for my club and to win football games.

"Sometimes I go a little bit further than I should. I behave like I feel I have to behave and I'm old enough to know that when I do not do right I have to accept it."

Wenger claimed his media silence last week had nothing to do with his spat with Pardew.

He said: "It was purely for sport reasons, but I cannot tell you more."

Arsenal's success left Liverpool without an away League victory this season in six attempts.

A rare goal for Mathieu Flamini late in the first half, and two from central defensive partners Kolo Toure and William Gallas after the break, left Wenger's men 10 points behind leaders Manchester United.

Dejected Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said: 'We have to start winning away to move closer so we can't think of anything else. Occasionally you have to go back and admit things are not working.'

Unless the fourth official was about to react violently to the appearance of a cameraman in the technical area in the final few seconds of this surprisingly one-sided encounter, the chances of a touchline bust-up appeared rather remote here yesterday.

Wenger certainly wasn't in the mood for another altercation, preferring instead to remain seated in the Arsenal dug-out while his players landed the blows against a submissive Liverpool.

A smile returned to Wenger's face when Kolo Toure scored the second of three fine goals and so good-humoured was the Arsenal manager afterwards that he even took a ribbing from the assembled media. 'Long time no see,' joked one reporter as Wenger entered the press auditorium. 'Been away?'

To the question of why he missed his first Friday press conference in a decade, Wenger gave an amusing response. 'I asked you for one week's holiday in 10 years and you will not give me one,' he complained.

He raised more laughs when asked if he would have celebrated had Robin Van Persie's third-minute goal stood. Van Persie tipped the ball beyond Jose Reina with his right hand prior to guiding his shot into the Liverpool net but the offence was spotted.

'I would not have celebrated,' said Wenger. 'I would have gone out to the middle of the pitch and told the referee it was handball.'

There was nothing to regret yesterday, however, as Arsenal performed with fluency as well as a fierce competitive edge that Liverpool simply had no answer to.

After the loss against West Ham and a draw with Everton, a victory that propels them to third in the Premiership was enough to convince Wenger they remain title contenders. 'You have to beat the big teams and we won at Manchester United and we have now beaten Liverpool,' he said.

Not that beating Liverpool proved too difficult. Rafa Benitez's side have become a red that does not trave, their fifth successive away defeat all but ending their own title hopes.

Liverpool have not had it easy since securing a point at Sheffield United on the opening day of the season with what remains their only away goal of the campaign. Since Robbie Fowler converted from the penalty spot they have had to go to Everton, Chelsea, Bolton, Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium. All difficult places to visit, for this Liverpool team anyway.

Picking the right team might enhance their chances of ending such a damaging run but Benitez continues to baffle with his selections.

A fine manager the Spaniard may be - let us not forget the two trophies he has secured in his short time at Anfield as well as the phenomenal success at Valencia - but his refusal to deploy Steven Gerrard in central midfielder becomes more bizarre by the week.

Not even Momo Sissoko's absence persuaded him to select Gerrard alongside Xabi Alonso. Instead he went for Bolo Zenden, with Gerrard on one flank and the ineffective Mark Gonzalez on the other.

After Van Persie received a yellow card for what amounted to the worst kind of cheating - the law-makers surely should have made it a red card offence after Diego Maradona's 'hand of God' offence in Mexico - and Peter Crouch had a goal disallowed for offside, Gonzalez played his part in Arsenal's 41st minute opener.

It was Gonzalez and John Arne Riise who failed to make a challenge on Alexander Hleb, inviting him to feed a delightful pass to Cesc Fabregas who then delivered his cross to the feet of Mathieu Flamini as he fought to get in front of Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool's defensive fragility was exposed again 11 minutes after the break when Van Persie sent the outstanding Toure clear before watching the central defender slip his shot through the legs of an embarrassed Reina.

Benitez finally switched Gerrard to the centre but by then Liverpool's frustration had got the better of them.

Carragher was lucky to avoid a red card for a shocking challenge on Van Persie and when Gerrard failed to stop William Gallas meeting Van Persie's 80th-minute corner with an unstoppable header, the contest was over.

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