Thursday, September 24, 2009

Di Matteo "disappointed" with Wilshere




After the match Baggies manager Roberto Di Matteo hit out at Arsenal teenager Jack Wilshere for his part in Jerome Thomas' sending-off.

"Thomas went to shake hands with Wilshere, he refused and Thomas reacted, so it was a red card," Di Matteo said. "But there was an exchange of words and there was a reaction. I am disappointed Wilshere did not accept his hand, of a fellow colleague, but that is part of the game."

Di Matteo maintained that until then his side had been in control.

"That was the turning point," he said. "I felt before Thomas got sent off, we were starting to get on top of them. We were just getting control of the game, and I thought we had a good chance to win tonight. But well done to Arsenal. They are very talented and congratulations to them."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger maintained he could not shed much light on the incident.

"My eyes are not great and my ears are even worse," quipped the Arsenal manager. "I could not hear anything from the touchline. Thomas has reacted, and in these cases you always need to control your nerves, whether he has any excuses, I do not know. Jack said he had been kicked.

"Certainly it would have been a great game if had stayed 11 against 11."

Wenger worked with Thomas, 26, while he was a youngster at Arsenal, but eventually the attack-minded midfielder decided to press for first-team football elsewhere.

"Thomas was very talented, sometimes nervy and impatient as well because he had a lot of talent," said Wenger. "I am happy he is coming to the top level now, because he always had something special and on his day was exceptional player. He lacked a bit of confidence, but looks to have found that now."

Mexico international Vela had missed the start of the season because of an ankle problem. However, the 20-year-old proved the difference between the sides.

"When Vela came on, straight away he made a difference," said Wenger. "He is dangerous in his control, movement and class. He gives you something special. However, he was not ready to start tonight and still has work to do on his fitness. But he is in my plans for the first team - he can play wide left, wide right or central. He gives you plenty of options."

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