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Arsene Wenger claims Cesc Fabregas victim of 'witch hunt'

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Moyes 'wrong' over Fabregas - Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Cesc Fabregas is the victim of a 'witch hunt' and has hit out at David Moyes over claims about his skipper.

Everton boss Moyes accused the Spanish midfielder of making "disappointing" comments in the tunnel at half-time in Tuesday's 2-1 home win for Arsenal.

But Wenger said: "I believe that it is wrong for Moyes to come out on what he pretends to have heard."

Asked if he thought there was a witch hunt against Fabregas, he said: "Yes."

Fabregas has come under fire from a number of opponents this season - including several Huddersfield players claiming he refused to swap shirts after their FA Cup match last weekend.

Wenger added: "I think there is a rule in our job to never come out with what is said in the heat of the moment.

"But for me what is the most important is the player behaves well.

"For example, some people reproach him for not exchanging shirts with a player after the game - but I hope he will not exchange shirts with players who try to kick him for 90 minutes and them come to say 'please can I get your shirt?'

"I think that is a normal and natural reaction.

"Overall this guy is an example on the football pitch and shows you how to play football."

Fabregas was angered by Everton striker Louis Saha's 24th-minute goal, which both managers later agreed had been scored from an offside position.

Arsenal trailed 1-0 at the interval and Moyes claimed Fabregas then confronted referee Lee Mason.

If I come out with what I have heard in the tunnel in the last 10 years, you would be amazed

Arsene Wenger

Talking to the media on Tuesday, Moyes did not repeat what the 23-year-old Spaniard was alleged to have said to Mason, but claimed "they were disappointing comments from someone who is such a talented footballer".

"I won't go into what they were, but they were deserving of a sending off, 100%. If you had said it on the pitch, you should have been off like that, so what is the difference when you are coming down the tunnel?"

Arsenal went on to win thanks to second-half goals from Andrey Arshavin and Laurent Koscielny, and the FA said on Wednesday that Fabregas's actions would not be investigated.

"People are more demanding, and Cesc has to live with that," added Wenger.

"It is not easy, but he is a very intelligent man and he will learn very quickly to cope with that.

"Cesc is 24 this year, he has played 250 games in the Premier League - at that age, it is absolutely remarkable.

"He has gone through a lot, difficult moments, but has always come out stronger - this guy is a fantastic leader."

In a statement on Wednesday, Fabregas said he held the utmost respect for all match officials, and that "many things are said in the heat of the moment".

Wenger said on Thursday: "He has not been charged by the FA, there is no action against him, so I don't see why we should spend any more time to defend somebody who is not guilty.

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"If you play football tomorrow with your friends, you go sometimes in at half-time and say something to your friend that you would not be very proud of 24 hours later, but it is in the heat of the moment. For me the incident is closed.

"If I come out with what I have heard in the tunnel in the last 10 years, you would be amazed."

Wenger maintained that Fabregas did not address any comments to referee Mason in the tunnel, and added: "Overall, this guy is an example on the pitch and shows you how to play football.

"He has gone through a lot, difficult moments, but has always come out stronger - this guy is a fantastic leader."



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see also
Fabregas to face no FA action
02 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Tuesday football as it happened
01 Feb 11 |  Football


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