Bacary Sagna tells Arsenal team-mates to keep morale high

Arsenal lost 2-0 to Manchester City on Sunday

Defender Bacary Sagna has told his Arsenal team-mates they must keep morale high, despite losing 2-0 at home to Manchester City yesterday.

The reigning Barclays Premier League champions had not won at the home of the Gunners since 1975, but eased to victory thanks to goals from James Milner and Edin Dzeko.

Arsenal's task of beating the champions, who remain seven points adrift of leaders Manchester United, was made harder when defender Laurent Koscielny was sent off after just 10 minutes.

France international Sagna admits it was always going to be difficult once referee Mike Dean had brandished an early red card, even though Dzeko missed the resulting penalty.

"To play 11 v 11 against City is very hard, even if you are at home, but 10 against 11 is even harder," Sagna told Arsenal Player.

"It is harder to play on the pitch and it is hard to have control of the ball, so we have to look forward to the next game and keep our heads up.

"It is always nice to see a goalkeeper saving a penalty but it is difficult to play.

"City have some quality players, we have some nice players as well, but with one more on the pitch than us it makes it very difficult."

Milner scored a great first goal and Dzeko atoned for his penalty miss by tapping in a second before half-time, although City's day was ruined slightly by captain Vincent Kompany's late red card.

However, Sagna was pleased with Arsenal's general response in the second half.

"Of course we had to keep going and try and score the first goal (of the second half), and we could have come back because it has happened in the past but it didn't happen," he said.

"We knew it would be a tough game with hard tackles and desire, and of course they wanted to win as much as we did."

Arsenal do not have long to wait until they can put things right on the pitch, as they welcome Swansea to the Emirates Stadium for an FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday evening.

The Swans caused an upset when they recorded a 2-0 win at Arsenal on December 1 and Michael Laudrup's side remain in good form, having won the opening leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final at Chelsea last week.

Sagna wants the players to be confident ahead of their replay, which will see the winners face Brighton in the fourth round, and then keep the momentum going in the fight for a third-place finish in the league.

"We can't let our heads go down," he said. "First of all we need to rest because we play in two days.

"After that we just need to keep pushing because we have many games to come back and we are not far from third position, so we have to keep the heads up."

The defeat leaves Arsenal sixth in the table, three points behind Everton with north London rivals Tottenham a further three clear in fourth.

The Gunners do have a game in hand over their nearest opponents, however, after their Boxing Day clash with West Ham was rearranged for January 23 following a strike from London Underground workers.

Gunners' boss Arsene Wenger had urged his players to be aware of their own ability and start games quicker.

"The team is desperate to do well and has quality," he said.

"We need to be conscious that we have quality and we have to show more authority from the start in big games. The authority comes with the confidence in your quality."

Wenger confirmed after the match that midfielder Mikel Arteta will be missing for around three weeks with a calf injury.

The Frenchman recalled Abou Diaby, who had not featured since September due to a thigh problem, to replace Arteta and felt his compatriot did a good job for the team.

"Diaby became stronger during the game," Wenger said.

"I feel he was like the team. He started very slowly and became stronger in the second part of the game.

"I took the gamble (of starting Diaby after his injury lay-off) because I feel that it was needed. It's good that he came through well. He will become stronger very quickly."

PA

Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect