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Feb 9, 2010

Arsene Wenger blames press for argument with Michael Ballack

Arsene Wenger has blamed the press for misrepresenting his post-match comments after Michael Ballack accused the Arsenal manager of being a bad loser following his side's 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.

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Wenger's assertion that "we didn't get a demonstration of football" from Chelsea and that the home side "have a lot of tricks" by utilising fouls to break up counter-attacks drew a rebuke from Ballack on Monday night.

The Germany captain criticised Wenger when claiming the Arsenal manager "always says things like this when he loses to find an excuse" and, in response to comments regarding Chelsea's style, that "football is not possession of the ball and playing a nice pass - football is about winning games".

But rather than respond to Ballack, Wenger instead sought to take the media to task for what he perceived as unfair handling of a press conference in which he also praised Chelsea for their efficiency and resolute defensive performance.

"I was full of compliment and praise for Chelsea after the game," Wenger said. "I find it completely unfair from the press that you take one word from my press conference to turn it."

Wenger's description of Aston Villa as a long-ball team following a Premier League draw in January also drew a furious reaction from opposite number Martin O'Neill, who described the jibe as an "appalling insult".

"You did that at Villa, you did that at Chelsea," Wenger continued. "If you look at the intent of my press conference it was positive to the opponent. If you want, we can have a press conference and I can say nothing, don't worry.

"As for (Ballack's comments), I am long enough in England to know that the team who wins can say what they want. They are right. It is my job to take a distance from that and analyse the game in a calm way with a cool head and to analyse what is right.''

Wenger added: "I have to live with all the conclusions that Chelsea are a much better side, but I believe what I believe.''

While many fans and critics alike have questioned whether it is time for Wenger to adapt his well-established philosophy in order to end a trophy drought that extends back to 2005, the Arsenal manager is remaining steadfast in his beliefs.

"There is only one way to play football - that is to win games and be efficient," Wenger said. "The best way to win the games is the way which is most adapted to the qualities of your players and the philosophy of your club. That is what we try to be faithful to.

"You have to accept that when you lose games, the way you play is always questioned - what becomes a fantastic quality when you win, becomes a fantastic mistake when you lose. It is like that. We still have to believe in the way we do things, in the way we play and to show that strength.''

Meanwhile, Arsenal defender Kyle Bartley has joined Sheffield United on loan for three months. The 19-year-old made his first-team debut in December's Champions League trip to Olympiacos.

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