Wenger praises Arsenal players for “outstanding spirit”

London, March 6 (IANS) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised his team for displaying “outstanding spirit” after they held arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-2 draw despite being reduced to 10 men.

Arsenal had taken the lead through Aaron Ramsey. But a red card to Francis Coquelin and goals from Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane put them on the backfoot. Alexis Sanchez eventually scored for Arsenal in the 76th minute to earn them a point against their north London rivals on Saturday evening.

“We’ve shown an outstanding performance, attitude and resolute spirit. Our spirit was questioned, our attitude was questioned and I think we gave the right response, which was not easy. We have been questioned to the extreme because from being 1-0 up and feeling comfortable in the game, we were suddenly 2-1 down and down to 10 men,” Wenger was quoted as saying by the official Arsenal website.

“Personally I never questioned the character of this team, but when you don’t win the games and you lose you have to accept that and respond on the pitch. That’s all you can do and I think we did that,” he added.

Wenger however, also regretted the fact that his team missed out on taking the full three points despite putting in a strong effort.

“We came back to 2-2 and in the end I think we could have won 3-2. That’s the regret of the day but overall I’m very proud of the players and of their performance.

“The team needs to take encouragement from today and reproduce that kind of attitude in every single game,” the 66-year-old Frenchman said.

Wenger also said that he warned Coquelin to be careful after the midfielder picked up a booking in the first-half.

“We told him at half-time, because he had a yellow already. It was a mistake and he knows that but he wanted to do well,” he said.

“But I think (Eric) Dier deserves a second yellow as well. That could have changed the game.”

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