Arsene Wenger: Watford game not about Troy Deeney's comments

MILAN -- Arsene Wenger has no interest in talking about Troy Deeney ahead of Arsenal's match against Watford on Sunday.

The game at the Emirates will be the first meeting between the sides since Deeney's disparaging comments about the Gunners following Watford's 2-1 home win in September, when the striker claimed Wenger's men lacked "cojones" and weren't up for a fight.

Wenger thinks such comments are better left ignored.

"It's better you focus on how you want to play, than on what people say," Wenger said in the wake of Arsenal's 2-0 win over AC Milan, which ended a four-match losing streak for the Gunners.

"You think we had not enough controversy in the last week? You want me to add some more? What we can do is always to respond on the field with the quality of our performance, that's what we want to focus on, not what people say.

"You understand very well, if I respond to every single statement in the country I would already be mad. I may be anyway maybe, but I would be more mad."

Watford manager Javi Gracia also said he does not expect Deeney's comment to have a negative impact on his side's visit to Arsenal.

"No, I don't feel that pressure," Gracia said. "I have spoken about the respect we have for other clubs and that is no different in the next game. I don't know what has happened in the past but I am sure our players will do their best as they do in all the matches.

"I don't know what [Deeney] tried to say, I think he was speaking about the need to be competitive, I don't know exactly. Maybe he tried to explain that you need to play at a high level in this league."

The Europa League win at the San Siro eased the pressure slightly on Wenger, who may need to win that competition in order to save his job this summer.

However, Arsenal are already out of top-four contention in the Premier League and Wenger indicated he may rest some players on Sunday ahead of the return leg against Milan next Thursday.

"On Sunday I have to see how everybody recovers, we gave a lot [on Thursday] I felt," he said. "For many players it was the fourth game in 10 days, and I have to see how we recover for Sunday. And after I will make my decision."

Danny Welbeck is among those who could be back on the bench, as he's set to start up front again in the second leg against Milan in the absence of the injured Alexandre Lacazette.

Welbeck put in a high-energy performance at the San Siro, although he still looked well short of confidence on the ball and lacked sharpness in his finishing.

Wenger said it was a step in the right direction for the forward, who has struggled for form lately.

"Welbeck is coming back slowly in a better shape, what he needs is consistency in the team and in the competition," Wenger said.

"I felt that he gave them a hard time, and he looked sharper, more aggressive, more energy. When he adds that kind of aggression to his game he becomes suddenly a very dangerous striker."

Wenger also had some praise for Mesut Ozil, another player who has been criticised lately but who responded with two assists against Milan.

"When the team played well he was very influential in the first half," he said. "He's an essential player, but he's a player who needs to have a team around him who plays, who dominates the game."