Bruce: No room for Wenger complaint

BY foxsports • September 19, 2010

Steve Bruce does not feel Arsene Wenger can have a complaint about Sunderland's late goal or any of their tackles in the 1-1 draw on Wearside.

Wenger vented his frustration on fourth official Martin Atkinson after Darren Bent levelled in the fifth minute of stoppage time against his 10-man side at the Stadium of Light.

However, asked afterwards about a suggestion that he had put his hands on Atkinson, Wenger replied: "Take the pictures and look at it.

"I complain to nobody, especially not to you."

Wenger's mood was perhaps understandable after his side emerged from a fixture in which the three points appeared to be there for the taking with just one.

Cesc Fabregas had put Arsenal in front with a lucky goal in the 13th minute before limping off with a hamstring injury 16 minutes later and Wenger's men looked set to see the game out despite playing for the last 35 minutes with 10 men following Alex Song's dismissal for a second bookable offence.

Song's premature departure was disappointing enough, but it was compounded by substitute Tomas Rosicky's spectacular 74th-minute penalty miss after Samir Nasri had been tripped by Ahmed Elmohamady.

Arsenal were made to pay at the death when Bent found himself in the right place at the right time to smash home the equaliser from close range.

Asked about the amount of added time played, Wenger said cryptically: "If you have a watch, you can control. It's as simple as that.

"I believe the performance was good. We had problems to start in the first half.

"In the second half, we played very well. We were, even with 10 men, in control of the game and unfortunately in the 95th minute, they equalised.

"I was very pleased. We could battle, we could play, we had all the ingredients of a good team.

"We had a slow start, but in the second half, we did well."

Wenger was not happy, but Bruce reminded the Frenchman that referee Phil Dowd was following the rules of the game.

He said: "It's never easy to take when you concede in the last 10 seconds. I know how he feels - it has happened to us eight times in the 15 months I have been here and it is very difficult to take.

"I think the complaint is that we played 15 seconds over, but to be fair to the referee, there were times when Andy Reid was trying to get the ball out of the stands for a corner and the referee is right within his prerogative - it's a minimum of four minutes.

"You have to play to the whistle. I understand his disappointment, but it is our glee this time.

"It gave everyone a lift when the penalty was missed, but overall, especially our first-half performance warranted us getting something out of the game."

Wenger's comments over a perceived lack of protection for his players made headlines once again this week, but Bruce was confident he had nothing to complain about.

He said: "I remember when I played against them a long time ago with Adams and Bould and Keown and Vieira and Petit and Bergkamp...

"Do me a favour. They invented it, they invented the big, strong, physical, powerful way to play, let's make no bones about that.

"They might have changed over the years, but it's part of the game.

"He has got such an exceptional team and what do you do? Do you do what Braga did and sit off them and let them play, or do you try to tackle them?

"Now, there's a difference between trying to tackle people and trying to hurt people.

"The tackles that were made today, as far as I could see, nobody was hurt. That's part of the game."