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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Wenger denies 'cheat' accusation
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has denied calling Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy a cheat.

Wenger has been asked to explain comments he made about Van Nistelrooy and referee Mike Riley after his side's 2-0 loss to Manchester United.

"I don't have to deny what I did not say," said Wenger when asked about calling the United striker a cheat.

The Frenchman also claimed he had no knowledge of an alleged food fight in the Old Trafford tunnel.

He added: "I don't know about that. I haven't seen it if something was thrown."

This game has been watched in 75 countries and English football lost a good occasion to let football talk on the pitch
Arsene Wenger

Wenger was more keen to talk about the way Manchester United played and virtually accused Sir Alex Ferguson's side of kicking their way to victory.

"I was not angry after the game at all," he added.

"I love football and I respect Manchester United and the referees but on this occasion I feel they did not play the game in the spirit we tried to play.

"And the referee did not have enough authority on the game to make football we love respected.

"We are just determined to get on with it and to make our football talk for us like we do on the pitch and tried to do on Sunday.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been criticised for his tactics recently but he has the Midas touch over Arsenal

"This game has been watched in 75 countries and English football lost a good occasion to let football talk on the pitch."

Van Nistelrooy has pleaded guilty to an FA charge of serious foul play for a challenge on Ashley Cole and will be banned for three games.

But Wenger was also unhappy with the treatment received by Spanish winger Jose Antonio Reyes.

"The real problem was on the pitch and that's what we have to talk about," he said.

"The FA has to take action on what they feel is right. They have a responsibility and an authority to tackle the real problems in the game.

"Football works well when everybody does their job. I'm responsible for the behaviour of my team on the pitch and the way we play football.

"Reyes has been kicked off the park."

Wenger was heavily critical of Riley in the aftermath of the match and he maintained the referee should have been firmer in his handling of the game.

He added: "I don't question the referee's honesty but he didn't protect well enough the spirit of the game.

"I agree the referee has a difficult job but still it is all in the rule book to make the game respected."

Interview: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

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