Wenger quite rightly deflects criticism of Cole

Last updated : 01 February 2004 By Chris Parry
Arsene Wenger defended our man with the hint of sarcasm that we've come to know and love, saying:

"I didn't see that Ashley pushed him Nicolas in the face. If the replays show it, then it's the referee's problem. He's made the decision and he was very close to the action.

"I wasn't worried at all that Ashley might get sent off though. He took the ball when it was in the net and we've seen that before without creating a national scandal."

He added: "I was surprised by Nicolas' reaction as he is usually very quiet. He wasn't happy and pushed Ashley."

Ash himself said: "I feel sorry for him as I only did the same as him. He shouldn't have done what he did but I don't think he should have been sent off. It should've either been a yellow or red card for both of us, not one and the other."