Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Wenger's half-time outburst inspired Arsenal, said Fabregas

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas revealed a furious tirade by Arsene Wenger at half-time had inspired the Gunners to come from behind and condemn Liverpool to a 2-1 defeat at Anfield.

The Reds took the lead through Dirk Kuyt close to half-time but the north London side turned the game around in the second half with an own goal by Glen Johnson and a stunning shot by Andrey Arshavin guiding Arsenal to victory.

The victory moved Arsenal up to third place in the Barclays Premier League - within three points of Manchester United with a game in hand.

Fabregas revealed he had never seen Wenger so angry as he was at half-time.

The Spaniard told Sky Sports 1: "The boss screamed. I've never seen him like that before.

"He was really disappointed in the first half and said we didn't deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt if we played like that.

"And I think he was right.

"In the second half we turned it round."

The Gunners are now six points behind Chelsea with both the Blues and United faltering yesterday, but Fabregas was cautious.

"There is still a long way to go," he added. "The Premier League is more open than ever, you can beat any team and I like it that way."

Defender Thomas Vermaelen explained the turnaround, saying: "We just reacted very well. The first half was really bad but in the second we put pressure on them and saw the result.

"We closed the gap a little bit now and we are back in the race."

Manager Wenger admitted he had been angry by his side's first-half display but refused to divulge details of what had been said.

"I don't like to talk about that," he said. "I'll keep that in the dressing room."

The Frenchman added: "They knew it was absolutely needed to win this game and when you lose the 50-50s in big games you don't win.

"It was just to make them conscious the commitment of Liverpool was bigger.

"I think the first half we were quite happy with 1-0 - it could have been two and the game could have been over.

"I don't put it down to a lack of desire - there was a fear to lose a big game. You could see that in the first half.

"It showed the team can respond and they are proud."

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez believes his side's confidence disappeared after Arsenal's second goal but he pledged to keep going.

He said: "The own goal changed everything, the confidence changed and we started to make mistakes.

"The first half was really good and we were very pleased.

"The second changed and they were playing with more confidence and we played with less.

"We conceded too early and the second goal came too soon after.

"We will keep going. We have another important game on Wednesday, we have some players coming back.

"Top four is the same target, it's a long way but we need to keep going."

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