I must say that Burnley gave everything

Last updated : 08 January 2008 By Tony Scholes
This was not patronising stuff from the Arsenal manager, but genuine appreciation from him at the way we went about the game. "Burnley played well," he admitted. "They missed the first half chance on the header and I firmly believe that would have had a big effect on the game.

"At 1-0 down in this atmosphere it would have been a very difficult game for us. We took our chance but we were pushed in the second half. We missed a few chances for a second goal and the sending off killed the game.

"I must say that Burnley gave everything. They played at a high pace and in a fair way. I am surprised to see where they are in the Championship, this division must be very difficult. What surprised me was the tempo of their game and how quickly they could pass it. I was surprised by the quality of their crosses, but they could not score."

Asked about the dismissal of Kyle Lafferty, the decision that he thought had killed the game he joked: "You will laugh, but I did not see it. Gilberto had his back to me. I have not seen it on the tape yet."

He continued: "It was an enthralling game. You see a little bit about your young players. I am lucky. Everywhere we go we see good games because our opponents like to play as well. What surprised me with Burnley is that they threw players forward, they were not just waiting for our mistake to take the game to us. There is an exceptional hunger in my squad and that came out again today.

I have a squad and I am not afraid to use it. We went to Everton with Bendtner and Eduardo up front like we did today. I rotate the squad. My team today — Toure, Gilberto, Bendtner, Sagna — are all top quality players. So I had a Premier League side out there today. I rested some players because we had a busy Christmas period.

"The two strikers did well today. The surprise of the day was that Eduardo missed one. You quickly get used to your players putting the ball in the back of the net. He has scored one and had an assist for the second. The two strikers did well."

Owen Coyle admitted to be being proud of his players after they had turned in such a good performance against the Premier League leaders and was delighted with the comments from Wenger, made to him at the final whistle.

"Arsène Wenger came up to me at the end of the game and said he felt they had got a bit lucky. It was a big compliment to hear him say he felt we moved the ball really well. That is probably a measure of the man because he didn't have to say that. To get someone of that ilk complimenting you on the way you keep playing, then you have to try to develop it and that is what we will do.

"I asked for a level of performance and we said we would try to be positive and I think we were. There are always pivotal moments in games and I thought Kyle had a great opportunity early on when he hit the bar. It never went in, but we were well in the game and looked a threat.

"There is no doubting Arsenal's undoubted quality and when they pass and move the ball they do it very effectively. Although I felt we conceded a poor goal, we kept on trying to play and we looked dangerous going forward. We had a few opportunities to score and again the sending off is a pivotal point.

"It puts you down to ten men and against Arsenal it is hard enough when you are eleven v eleven. But again, the effort was valiant and we had half chances to get back into the game and I have nothing but praise for the way they went about it.

"Arsenal will know they have been in a game and that is probably credit to our lads. Before the game, if you had said we were going to create that many opportunities against Arsenal you would think one of them would have hit the net. As it happened it didn't, but we will take the positives into the Championship because then we will win games."