Gunners must bounce back from Cup shock - Wenger

Updated: 28 February 2011 13:07 IST

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger challenged his shattered players to bounce back from their League Cup final heartbreak after Birmingham snatched a last-gasp victory at Wembley.

Gunners must bounce back from Cup shock - Wenger

London:

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger challenged his shattered players to bounce back from their League Cup final heartbreak after Birmingham snatched a last-gasp victory at Wembley.


A catastrophic blunder between Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny in the 90th minute gifted victory to Birmingham as the old questions about the Gunners' enduring defensive frailty resurfaced.

Wenger admitted that defeat in a final the club had been determined to win could have a damaging psychological effect as Arsenal now turn their attention to ongoing campaigns in the League, Champions League and FA Cup.

But he insisted his team had the character to recover after squandering a golden chance to end the club's six-year trophy drought.

"It's a massive disappointment for the team but we have massive challenges in front of us," Wenger said after the 2-1 defeat.

"The League Cup is four or five games. The Premier League is 38 games. We will not throw 38 games away because of one game.

"The team is very, very disappointed and we will face a lot of questions after that mistake tonight.

"But we have to be strong enough to stand up. And it's a good opportunity to show that we have the mental strength to respond to a situation like that."

Wenger declined to criticise Koscielny and Szczesny, whose failure to clear a flick-on from Nikola Zigic allowed Martins to steal in and nick the winner.

"It was a lack of communication and a lack of determination a little bit. When a ball is in nomansland somebody has to take responsibility and go for it really," Wenger said.

"Both of them (Koscielny and Szczesny) are destroyed. I don't think it's a good moment for me to add anything to that. We have to lift them up again and help them. That's what a team is about.

"These kind of things are part of the game as well. We had enough chances to kill the game off when it was 1-1 but we couldn't find the second goal."

Arsenal, who remain second in the Premier League behind Manchester United, have only a brief respite before entering a two-week period which could ultimately define their season.

The club have an FA Cup fifth round replay against Leyton Orient on Wednesday before resuming their Premier League campaign against Sunderland next weekend.

They then face a daunting trip to Barcelona for their Champions League last 16 second leg match, before a possible FA Cup meeting with Manchester United the following week.

The hectic schedule comes as Arsenal's injury problems are mounting, with striker Robin van Persie becoming the club's latest high-profile casualty on Sunday following injuries to captain Cesc Fabregas and winger Theo Walcott.

"What is difficult for us at the moment is that we are losing too many players," Wenger lamented.

"We are in good positions everywhere but we play so many games. We can't go on losing players.

"We lost Cesc Fabregas in the week and now Robin van Persie is not in good shape after this game.

"You could see that Birmingham were stronger than us physically in the first half. We were at a disadvantage."



Topics : Football Arsenal Obafemi Martins Birmingham City Jack Wilshere Laurent Koscielny
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