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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 7, 2008

Wenger coy over future of 'faultless' Lehmann

Arsene Wenger praised Jens Lehmann for a 'faultless performance' as Arsenal made it into the fourth round of the FA Cup but admitted the German goalkeeper may have played his last game for the Gunners.

Lehmann has been linked with a return to Borussia Dortmund in order to bid for Germany's number one spot at the Euro 2008 finals.

The Arsenal manager will not stand in the 38-year-old's way but said after the 2-0 win over Burnley that he wants Lehmann to stay, even though Manuel Almunia has become his first-choice goalkeeper.

Wenger said: 'Jens had a faultless performance. I wish that he stays but we will learn whether or not he wants to in the days to come.

'He showed what a great professional he is. It is sad if he wants to go but the decision is in his court.'

Wenger was a relieved man after Arsenal survived a testing FA Cup third-round contest at Burnley.

The Gunners eventually triumphed through excellent finishes from Eduardo and Nicklas Bendtner but the Clarets, mid-table in the Championship, had nearly taken the lead when Kyle Lafferty hit the crossbar.

Lafferty was later sent off by referee Alan Wiley for a studs-up challenge on Gilberto, after which Bendtner's goal ended the contest.

Wenger said: 'Burnley played very well. They missed the first big chance and I believe that header could have had a big weight on the game.

'With the performance they put in I think it would have been a very difficult game for us if they had gone 1-0 up.'

Burnley manager Owen Coyle felt the dismissal was harsh.

Coyle said: 'We looked a threat all game and had a few opportunities to score and the sending off was the turning point in the game.

'My initial thoughts were it was only a yellow card, if that. Kyle Lafferty is a 20-year-old kid with a great future ahead of him in the game and there's not a bad bone in his body.

'He's miscontrolled the ball, he's gone to recover it and it was with one foot, it certainly wasn't two-footed.'

Coyle said Wenger had taken the trouble to praise Burnley's style of play.

He added: 'He came up at the end of the game and said he felt they got a little bit lucky and that we passed and moved very well, which was a big compliment.

'I think that's the measure of the man, to have someone of that ilk complimenting you on the way your team played is fantastic and we have to take that and try to develop it.'

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