Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Arsenal move on from Adebayor row

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger today moved to draw a line under the Emmanuel Adebayor saga - insisting as a manager you "expect nothing back" in return for your hard work.

The Togo international, sold to Manchester City for £25million during the summer, has been banned for three matches for his stamp on Robin van Persie in the 4-2 win over his old club last Saturday - and faces the threat of further punishment if the Football Association take a dim view of his controversial goal celebration in the same game at Eastlands.

Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas also claimed to be the victim of a bad challenge from his former team-mate.

Adebayor, though, claims it was the Arsenal players who showed him a lack of respect by not wanting to shake hands before the match, as well as insisting it was the club which decided to sell him.

Wenger has already admitted his disappointment at the reaction of the player he plucked from relative obscurity at Monaco three years ago, and helped mould into one of Europe's most sought-after strikers.

However, when pressed on the latest developments ahead of tomorrow's Barclays Premier League clash against Wigan at the Emirates Stadium, the Arsenal manager refused to be drawn on the issue any more.

"We have to put that behind us now and focus on what is in front of us," said Wenger.

"Personally I believe what is very important for us is to focus on tomorrow's game and forget all that happened last weekend.

"Adebayor plays for Man City, he does not play for Arsenal anymore and I am here to speak about the players who play for our club and not those who do not anymore.

"I believe that what is important is what is good for the club: what is good for Arsenal is that we win football games so let us focus on that."

However, the Gunners boss felt his conscience was clear in respect of fulfilling his coaching philosophy when the 6ft 3in African was a key member of the Arsenal squad.

"In our job you accept that you give and do not expect any return, so you are never disappointed," Wenger reflected.

"I feel my job is to give to people as much as I can and without expecting any return from that.

"That is how I approach my job. In this case specifically, I do not feel I have done too badly.

"I believe I succeeded [with Adebayor as a player], but you can always do better and that is what is my approach.

"I try to help every single player to achieve something in his career and over the years I feel I have done quite well."

Arsenal head into tomorrow's clash with the Latics on the back of a morale-boosting Champions League win at Standard Liege, when they had trailed 2-0 after only five minutes.

Following two disappointing defeats by Manchester United and then City, not to mention the background of Eduardo's rescinded diving ban, Wenger feels his young side have again displayed their growing character.

"Even at Manchester United and Manchester City we have shown quality games," Wenger reflected.

"We were not rewarded, but if we keep going I am confident our strength will come out in every single game."

Wenger added: "It is very important for us to be strong at the Emirates.

"We have played four games, but three have been away in three difficult places for everybody else.

"The Emirates will be the decider for us as to how strong we fight for the championship."

It was in the game against Wigan last season when some sections of the Emirates Stadium crowded turned on Emmanuel Eboue, who was taken off after coming on as a substitute.

Wenger feels the Ivory Coast international has come a long way since then, along with the Gunners home support.

"I think we have changed the atmosphere at the Emirates now through our quality in our games and Eboue has done exactly the same," said Wenger.

"It is always down to your attitude as a player to change the fans' mind.

"They are always ready to do that if you show quality performances, you get the fans supporting you again."

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