Wenger uncomfortable with French victory

20 November 2009 10:19

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted his fellow countrymen can take no pride in the way they qualified for the World Cup.

Les Bleus and their skipper, Thierry Henry, have found themselves at the centre of a storm following their play-off victory over the Republic of Ireland.

Henry's handball - which he later admitted - led to France progressing to South Africa at the expense of the Republic.

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Wenger watched the match and refused to condemn the actions of his former captain.

However, he claimed that France can take no pride in their performances during a qualification campaign in which they lost to Austria and dropped four points to Romania.

"We qualified by the back door like Portugal," admitted Wenger.

"Our qualification resembled that of Portugal. A bad start, a lack of confidence and we got through with a very uncomfortable feeling.

"The goal we scored was hard to swallow if you were in the opposite camp. We would have preferred to qualify in a different manner."

Speaking about Henry, a diplomatic Wenger added: "All the stadium has seen the handball, but the referee hasn't. This isn't the French way and football should learn from this.

"I have spoken to him after the game and he knows it was not correct but it is up to the referee also to stop the play.

"In the end we qualified because of a referee's mistake, the strength of a wrist and also the clumsiness of the Irish in front of their goal."

Source: DSG