‘The team is healthy, focused and concerned’

Arsène Wenger in Braga
Braga v Arsenal

UEFA Champions League
Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 19:45

By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger believes the dramatic defeat to Tottenham on Saturday will NOT affect the long-term confidence of his squad.

Arsenal led the North London derby 2-0 at half-time and seemed to be cruising to the top of the Premier League only to let in three goals against their fiercest rivals.

Fortunately for Wenger, no-one can dwell on that defeat for too long. On Monday, Arsenal travelled out to Braga seeking to secure qualification to the Knockout Stage of the Champions League. According to the manager, the players had endured a sullen Sunday but had now moved on.

“It was difficult yesterday, more than today because we are now in front of a game already,” said Wenger.

“They were very, very down. We have a healthy and very ambitious spirit so the players know that they basically threw a game away that was in our hands.

“But they are intelligent too and they know that in this game they have shown huge potential. We could have taken command of the League so there is no reason for it to affect really deeply the confidence of the team.

“The players care. Their attitude is very healthy, very focused and very concerned. But when you play against opponents of quality, you have to accept defeats.

“Tottenham took advantage of every single mistake we made. We were a bit unlucky with some decisions as well. In the first half, Chamakh was clean through and was not offside.

“Their free-kick leading to the penalty wasn’t a free-kick. On a day like that, you can’t take that as an excuse because we have to look at ourselves. But every little mistake went against us and the decisions as well.”

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