Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lost his cool during his post-match press conference after a late goal from Birmingham striker Kevin Phillips dented his side's Barclays Premier League title hopes.

Wenger had already expressed anger at the challenge by Blues midfielder Craig Gardner on Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas, which left the Spain midfielder with a knee injury, and he swore when prompted to comment about the amount of bad tackles in the game.

Wenger said: "How is Fabregas? I don't know. But it was a bad tackle, one more. He got tackled at the knee, kicked just under the knee. We tried to take him off but he said he was all right."

He added: "Am I suggesting there were a lot of bad tackles? Leave me alone with that. You are always looking for controversy, you do not need me to tell you what happened on the pitch. I can give you my opinion about our game but you always create this controversy."

As regards whether Fabregas will be fit for the midweek Champions League game with Barcelona, Wenger said: "I don't know. We have to assess him on Sunday."

Wenger also felt that Phillips' equaliser, which cancelled out a goal from substitute Samir Nasri, was offside. But he admitted his team had enough opportunities to have wrapped up the three points.

He said: "It is disappointing and a big blow to our title hopes because, in our position, we had to win all our games. The pitch was difficult to play on but in the second half we were on top but then got caught at the end."

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish insisted Wenger was wrong to believe there was a vendetta against Arsenal.

He said: "The tackle by Craig on Fabregas was robust. I know what Arsene was getting at because if you follow through, even if you have got the ball, then at that speed you can hurt a player.

"But there were similar tackles by the Arsenal players and you have got to take it on the chin. I certainly don't think there is a big vendetta against Arsenal and people are not saying 'let's make bad tackles on them'."

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Topics:
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Craig Gardner
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