FA Cup - Wenger slams Scholes tackles

Sat, 12 Mar 22:29:00 2011

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to criticise referee Chris Foy for not sending Paul Scholes off during his side’s 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat against Manchester United.

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The Gunners were knocked out of their third trophy in two weeks, following their Champions League exit to Barcelona and shock Carling Cup defeat to Birmingham with a loss that was narrower than the scoreline suggested.

Possibly with his continued war of words with UEFA in mind after the fall-out from Robin van Persie’s controversial dismissal in the Barca clash, Wenger said he "liked" Foy but was annoyed at Scholes’s reckless challenges - including one late in injury time that arguably should have resulted in a second yellow card.

"I liked the pitch, I liked the referee, I did not like Paul Scholes' tackles,'' Wenger said. "We have lost three big challenges in a strange way.

"One in the last minute with a goal from nowhere, one under very strange circumstances in Barcelona and today in a match where we were not outplayed but were punished by a team that was more clinical than us."

The Frenchman, who has gone six years without winning a major trophy, is convinced that his side can still triumph by taking the one competition in which they remain - the Premier League.

"I don't feel like the season is slipping away. I believe we can do it (win the league). It is a good test for us now to show we can regroup and show the mental strength and togetherness quickly.

"We will have to answer this kind of question in the next two or three weeks. We have to show we have an answer.

"We are used to being questioned. We have to show we are strong enough to deal with it."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, expressed his delight at a virtuoso performance by 40-year-old goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who made several excellent saves in what is set to be his final career as a player.

"He is a fantastic goalkeeper," Ferguson said.

"We just wish he was 21 rather than coming up to 41 but nature catches you eventually in life."

United now head into their own Champions League last-16 encounter with Marseille on Tuesday, with both Ryan Giggs and Scholes expected to start after being limited to substitute roles.

"I couldn't risk Scholes and Giggs because of Tuesday's game," Ferguson added. "That is such an important game for the club and if you look at the injuries in midfield I had to come up with a plan or an idea to utilise our energy."

Eurosport

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