Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger calmed fears over Laurent Koscielny’s injury in the aftermath of their UEFA Europa League triumph over AC Milan, backing the veteran defender to return to action with much delay.
The 32-year-old central defender pulled up early on during their 3-1 win over the Rossoneri on Thursday night and had to be replaced by Calum Chambers in the 11th minute itself.
“He got a kick on his back,” Wenger revealed at his post-match press conference in London.
“We don’t think it’s bad but he cramped up and he couldn’t go on.”
Koscielny, who got called up earlier in the week for France for their international friendlies towards the end of the month, could now be forced to pull out of Didier Deschamps’ squad.
With Per Mertesacker not seeing much playing time, Koscielny is Arsenal’s captain for all intents and purposes and is considered as a favourite to be given the armband permanently when the German retires at the end of the current season.
Arsenal aren’t in action on the weekend due to the FA Cup quarter-finals having postponed most of the Premier League ties and they next face Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium on April 1, which would mean Koscielny will have a fighting chance to be fit in time for the visit of the Potters.
The Frenchman’s abrupt exit clearly disrupted the Gunners’ rhythm for they found themselves trailing to Hakan Calhanoglu’s long-ranger but managed to recover thanks to a brace from Danny Welbeck to progress to the quarters by virtue of a commanding 5-1 aggregate victory.
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The North Londoners join the likes of CSKA Moscow, Red Bull Salzburg, Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Marseille, Sporting Lisbon and Red Bull Leipzig in the quarters.
The draw for the quarter-finals of the Europa League will be made at 1200 GMT/17.30 IST on Friday at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, directly after the Champions League quarter-final draw.