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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 December, 2003, 19:28 GMT
Cole apologises for dismissal
Arsene Wenger
Arsenal defender Ashley Cole issued an apology for his reckless two-footed tackle which saw him sent off and undermined his side's title bid.

Cole was sent off 18 minutes from time at the Walkers Stadium for a rash challenge on Ben Thatcher.

Arsenal were leading 1-0 at the time but conceded a late goal to drop two points and miss the chance to go back to the top of the Premiership.

Cole apologised for the sending off, which made him the fourth Arsenal player to be dismissed this season and the 53rd under Arsene Wenger.

He admitted: "The tackle was in the heat of the moment. I didn't go over the ball and I didn't mean to hurt Ben Thatcher.

"That being said, however, I did deserve to be sent off and I have apologised to my team-mates and the boss."

Arsenal were duly punished for Cole's rash tackle when substitute Craig Hignett struck an equaliser in the third minute of added time to cancel out Gilberto Silva's 61st-minute header.

Wenger declared: "We were in control of the game at 1-0 and Jens Lehmann didn't have a shot to save. So of course we would have preferred to have kept 11 players on the pitch.

I don't want to talk about Arsenal players as my players were magnificent
Leicester boss Micky Adams
"It looked like Ashley wanted to get the ball but it was a two-footed tackle that was too high, it was a red card and we have to accept it.

"He will miss three matches now and that can be costly but we have handled that before and we will deal with it again.

"If he wanted to hurt the opponent then that is completely wrong, but it's difficult to say and I will review the tackle on television. My reaction will depend on the intent of the player."

Wenger was upset at the way his side let in a late goal.

"I'm very disappointed as we conceded a goal in the last second of the game and I'm especially disappointed with the way that we gave it away," he added.

"We had a whole training session devoted to defending high balls like that and so we feel guilty at dropping two points in this way. We did not deal well with the ball."

Wenger, who was involved in a heated conversation with full-back Kolo Toure after the final whistle, added: "I was explaining the situation to him as he was in a bad position."






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