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Arsenal boss Wenger defends under pressure keeper Almunia

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has jumped to the defence of his goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

The Spaniard was criticised for his performance in last Sunday's defeat by Manchester United.

"If you look across Europe you will see that goalkeeping may be the most difficult job because everything is quick," Wenger told arsenal.com.

"In England it is even harder. The difference is the goalkeeper is always in the negative publicity. If a striker misses two chances and scores two, he is a hero. If a goalkeeper has a fantastic game and makes one mistake, he is a villain.

"They are under massive pressure because of that fear to make one mistake that they know can kill their team and the game. They know it is maybe the most pressurised job in football.

"I think he [Almunia] puts a lot of pressure on his shoulders, too much."

The manager added that a nervous backline, not just a nervous goalkeeper, can impact on the rest of the team.

"I believe as well the defender has the same problem," he said. "When you feel a defender is nervous it spreads as well. If he kicks the ball into the stand instead of clearing it five metres to a midfielder, the midfielder thinks 'what is happening here'. It spreads through the team."

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