Wenger stands by Shawcross blast

05 March 2010 02:42
Wales midfielder Ramsey saw his season ended by a challenge from Shawcross which left him with a fractured tibia and fibula, with the 19-year-old now set for a long road to rehabilitation.

The Stoke defender, called up to the England squad for the midweek friendly with Egypt, has since sent messages of support to Ramsey in hospital.

In the immediate aftermath of last Saturday's game at the Britannia Stadium, which Arsenal went on to win 3-1 to re-ignite their title challenge, Wenger condemned the challenge as "horrendous and unacceptable", while also criticising Stoke's overall approach.

The Gunners boss showed no signs of wavering from that view on reflection when he faced the inevitable questions on the incident at Friday's media conference ahead of Saturday's match with Burnley.

"I stand by what I said 100%," Wenger declared. "I knew exactly what would happen the whole week, that was quite easy to predict."

Wenger continued: "I am sitting here like I am in a tribunal. What do I have to defend? Is it a football game or something else?

"I can understand people want to be committed against us, and I have no problem with that.

"I love the commitment of the English game. I don't want to change that and it makes the game even more attractive, but high commitment demands fair intention as well."

Wenger added: "I admire a great technical tackle as much as a creative pass.

"A tackle is an art in itself - that means you always have your eye on the ball, never with a high foot, in your tackle you can already make a pass.

"To close your eyes and go in too physical, that does not mean it is intention, but there is danger.

"Tackling is an art you do not want to get out of the game.

"We have some good tacklers in this league, some who are not good - but that does not mean you go into it trying to break a leg.

"It is not Arsenal against the rest of the world. What I say here is valid for the Arsenal players as well.

"I want the Arsenal players to go into the tackles like everybody else, to go into the tackles and be committed.

"What I say it not just for Stoke or Arsenal players, it is for everybody. I defend football.

"It is not that we are apart from anybody else. We are the same.

"I am continuing to defend the values that I believe are important for our club and football.

"That doesn't mean we are angels and everyone else is the devil. It is for everybody."

Wenger maintains there is no point in continuing to debate the issue.

"I believe that on our side we have made one decision to support Aaron Ramsey as much as we can and then continue to promote the values that are important for the club and football," he said.

"All the rest is to go into unneeded controversy. I don't see how that can help football or Aaron Ramsey.

"It is important to focus on the future, help Aaron Ramsey and let people talk."

Ramsey has undergone surgery - performed by the same doctor who operated on Eduardo after the Arsenal forward's similar injury two years ago - and Wenger hopes the youngster will eventually make a full recovery.

"The first signs are good," said Wenger. "But of course, mentally, Aaron is very down.

"It is difficult to take, he was just coming into the team on a regular basis.

"We will give him all the support we can and gradually he should come back."

While Ramsey's shocking injury may have grabbed all the headlines, Arsenal moved back within three points of leaders Chelsea - and could go top of the Barclays Premier League with a four-goal win over the relegation-threatened Clarets, who have picked up just one away point all season.

Wenger said: "For us, Stoke was a vital victory and has put us in a good position for the rest of the season.

"It is down to how consistent we can be, how much we turn up from the first minute until the 90th minute - all that will decide our championship."

Arsenal 1/7, Draw 13/2, Burnley 16/1  

Source: Team_Talk

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