There was neither smoke, nor fire, when William Gallas was caught on camera leaving a nightclub in the early hours of Thursday morning with an unlit cigarette in his mouth, but Arsène Wenger was nevertheless unimpressed.
The Arsenal manager yesterday censured his captain describing his behaviour as "unacceptable". Wenger added: "I don't like that. He has a bigger responsibility as captain. It is a public job with a public responsibility."
Wenger said he was unhappy both for moral reasons and because smoking is damages a player's health. By way of mitigation he conceded that smoking is still widespread in France though he had never smoked when a player, and only briefly, and occasionally, after becoming a coach.
Gallas, whose leadership has been criticised, recently said his performances had been below par and Wenger praised his honesty in doing so.
"I believe that William has a very fair assessment of his performances," said Wenger. "He has learned a lot. He has taken a lot of criticism but I think he took it in a positive way. He has come out and said, 'I made a mistake last year and I will change and re-address my attitude'."
Gallas is in line to return from an thigh injury at West Ham tomorrow. "William has worked very hard to and looks very sharp," said Wenger. "What you can never fault with William is the motivation."Reuse content