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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
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

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us