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

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable