The managers’ views: Arsenal 3 Liverpool 1

Reaction from the two managers after Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal today.

Rafa Benitez: "We played well in the first fifteen minutes and we had some chances but played the next 30 minutes with our heads down.

"We needed to score three goals in the second half and we tried until the end. We played a good second half at high tempo. We scored one and maybe could have had another."

(Asked if Liverpool would challenge UEFA’s ruling that Champions League winners cannot defend their title) "We need to win the game and after that we will see. The question is how many times can you play a final of the Champions League after playing in the Carling Cup final and chasing fourth place in the league until the end? I try to be positive always. The players cannot start thinking about the future, they need to be thinking about the next game and then the final. The final is a massive game. We haven’t played in this final for 20 years and we need prepare for it and then think about the future. It is my responsibility to prepare the players for the final."

Arsene Wenger:  "We have a contract with Ashley Cole until 2007 and talks can go on until then. My desire is to extend his contract and to improve his wages. At the moment the case has not gone to a hearing and his agent is preparing his case. In fairness, I did not have a go at Ashley, I had a go at the Premier League. We are now in may and the situation happened in February. It has still not gone to a hearing. It looks like an international war is quicker sorted out. My gut feeling is that Ashley will stay. The Premier League need to take much quicker action under the football rules. If they want to punish Chelsea now when they are on holiday it will be very difficult. I don’t see any conspiracy but it doesn’t seem logical to me that something happens in February and it is still not sorted out. Chelsea already have the cup, you cannot take it back. If they had taken one point away from them in February, it would have been much better than six in May when they are already champions.

"Mathematically we have not finished second yet. We must wait until Wednesday and then finish the job. I think we played some better football today and recently than we have done ever. The team is growing from game to game and we have so many young players in there. It is very encouraging for the future. I’ve seen these signs coming for the last two months. Ashley is still young, Toure is 23, Fabregas 18, Reyes 21, Van Persie 21 – they are all young boys. It is very difficult to build a good team. But we don’t want to lose our players."