Henry says sorry after Arsenal penalty fiasco
LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Captain Thierry Henry has apologised to Arsenal's supporters for the extraordinary penalty miss during the 1-0 home win over Manchester City in the Premiership on Saturday.
'I just want to apologise to all the Arsenal fans because it wasn't the right thing to do,' Henry told the BBC. 'Next time I will take all the penalties.'
Robert Pires, who had already converted one spot kick, fluffed his attempt to touch a second into the path of fellow Frenchman Henry, prompting chaotic scenes that ended with referee Mike Riley awarding City a free kick.
In the aftermath, it emerged that Riley believed Pires had touched the ball twice.
Henry admitted that the ploy, used by Dutch midfielder Johan Cruyff when he passed a penalty to Jesper Olsen for his team mate to score for Ajax Amsterdam in the 1982-83 season, was his idea.
Asked if it was his idea, Henry said: 'Yes...but it wasn't my idea to make his (Pires's) leg go numb. What happened? I don't know.
'Unfortunately for Robert it is going to be in all the kind of papers you can have about strange things that can happen on the pitch. I don't know why his leg went numb.
'When Cruyff did it at Ajax everyone went ballistic. Sometimes you have to remember it was not a lack of respect (to the opposition).
'We should not have done it but it is a game and people keep forgetting it's entertainment also. We can laugh about it now because we took all three points but I think we wouldn't have been laughing if we didn't win.'
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who was celebrating his 56th birthday on Saturday, said: 'He (Pires) is vaccinated now for the rest of his life to take a penalty like that. That's a positive side of it.
'He's a lucky boy because the team has not been punished. 'You could interpret it as being disrespectful but certainly you have always to analyse the intention and the intention was not at all to be disrespectful, the intention was to score the goal.'
City's French defender Sylvain Distin disagreed.
'I felt it was a little bit disrespectful to us,' he said.