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By ESPN Staff

Stoke chairman hits back at Wenger criticism

Stoke chairman Peter Coates has rejected Arsene Wenger's claim that Stoke players deliberately set out to injure their Arsenal counterparts on Saturday.

The Arsenal boss claimed Rory Delap and Ryan Shawcross deliberately injured Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Adebayor during the Gunners' 2-1 loss at the Britannia Stadium.

But Coates insisted the Premier League newcomers had played the game in the right manner.

''I am really very disappointed in what he has said,'' Coates told BBC Radio Five Live.

''That wasn't the game I saw, it wasn't the game the fans at the ground saw and it wasn't the game that the referee saw. 'I really am disappointed in him and I couldn't really disagree with him more.

''There was only one player who got sent off in that match and that was an Arsenal player (Robin Van Persie). Things happen in football, we don't have nasty players in the team who go out to injure players and we don't want that.''

Walcott and Adebayor now face time on the sidelines while defender Bacary Sagna was also carried off.

But Coates insisted any injuries were accidental and put Wenger's outburst down to the increasing pressure on the Frenchman after Arsenal's dip in form.

''Perhaps he has had a difficult few days with his results, there is a lot of pressure in football and I think it could be a manifestation of that,'' said Coates.

''I think he's a fantastic manager, one of the great managers of the game. I'm not going to get involved in a slanging match with Arsenal, I just profoundly disagree with what he has said.''

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