Wenger pleased with Gunners spirit

BY foxsports • December 20, 2009

Arsene Wenger was delighted with Arsenal's battling qualities after they enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 victory over Hull at the Emirates Stadium.

Goals from Denilson's sublime free-kick, Eduardo and Abou Diaby moved Arsenal back into third place in the Premier League.

Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia also deserved much credit when he saved Geovanni's second-half penalty with the home side 1-0 in front.

"We had to fight," said Wenger. "It took us some time to get into the game and to find the pace.

"We didn't look very fresh in the first half. But we got in front in the second half, and if there was a turning it was the penalty they missed.

"The penalty looked really, really harsh but we scored straight away a second goal and had plenty of chances after that.

"We scored the first goal just before half-time and they had to come out in the second half.

"In the first-half they played in their half and were well organised and closed us down. We had to respond physically and we had a good response today.

"Denilson is not a free-kick specialist. He took it well. I thought he wanted to cross but he scored. It changed the game."

Denilson's opener came just after players from both teams were embroiled in a mass confrontation - sparked by Samir Nasri's off-the-ball tangle with Richard Garcia.

Hull's Stephen Hunt then clashed with Nasri and referee Steve Bennett booked both players when order was restored. The feud appeared to continue in the tunnel as the players left the pitch but Wenger denied anything untoward had gone on.

"It was difficult to see he stamped on the foot," said Wenger. "But if he had gone, a player from Hull would have gone as well. Nothing happened in the tunnel."

Wenger also had some kinds words for Mark Hughes after his dismissal as manager at Manchester City.

"It is very sad when a manager loses his job," added Wenger. "It is always a sad day when you are not given the time. From the outside it looks surprising and sad."

Hull boss Phil Brown was convinced Nasri should have been sent off.

He said: "We asked for a good performance for our lads and we got that. You hope to catch Arsenal on an off day and we didn't get that - they played very well. And you want the referee to get the major decisions right and we didn't get that either.

"I have got genuine players. They are solidly behind the campaign at Hull. Richard Garcia is an honest lad. If Nasri gets booked, why did he get booked? I need to know that one.

"If it is an off-the-ball incident, having given a free-kick, I cannot see any reason for him going and stamping on Richard. He doesn't go down easily. He is a proper man.

"The key factors of the game where the free-kick just before half-time. It is a free shot at our goal and it ends up in the net and changes the whole complexity of the game.

"The referee saw a tug of the shirt for the penalty. Silvestre pulled Craig Fagan's shirt. We missed the penalty and they go up and score a second and in effect it is game over. But we did not give in and I was quite proud of the performance."

Brown was also surprised by the departure of Hughes at Manchester City.

"It just shows how amazing the Premier League is," said Brown. "To have a mouthwatering Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester United, I thought, would have kept Mark certainly in the job as long as he needs to be.

"They have only been beaten twice this season but obviously the owners have decided on a change of plan."

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