Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal have got last week’s 5-1 loss to Liverpool “out of their system” and that the Anfield side are the “first team” they want to play because it means they can set the errors of that defeat right.
The Gunners boss also claimed that cup results can influence the title race, as his side prepare to meet Brendan Rodgers’ men in the FA Cup at the Emirates this Sunday.
“We have got it out of our systems because our main frailty at Liverpool was that we conceded goal after goal in 20 minutes, and on Wednesday night we came back to our usual defensive stability,” Wenger told a news conference on Friday.
Asked whether Liverpool are the “last team” Arsenal want to play, the French manager disputed that and said they were “hurt” by the loss.
“No, I would say it is the first team we want to play. When you can put things right, you want an opportunity to do that and we have an opportunity.
“Of course, these guys are winners. When they lose in that way believe me they are hurt... when you just conceded five goals you do not go into the next game and act like nothing happened.
“I feel that we got the mental response I expected from the team, hugely committed but with a bit more confidence we would have been a bit more composed on the ball in some situations in the game that could have had an influence on the result in the end.”
Wenger, meanwhile, claimed the result in cups can influence the title: “Yes it can, as you say an incidence and it's a physical burden as well on the teams that you have to cope with," he said.
“Of course that can have an influence, the mental shape and the mental level of confidence of the team and the positive vibes that are within the the team are always very important.
“Therefore the results in any competition can have an influence... I believe on that front the fact that we do not play against a Championship team but against a Premier League team will help a lot.”
Wenger revealed that Santi Cazorla will miss the game due to illness but wouldn’t state if he would rotate his squad.
“We have only one player back, and that’s [Mathieu] Flamini - who comes back from suspension not injury, so he should be fresh and available,” he continued.
“That is the only positive news we have. From Wednesday night I don’t think we lose anybody, just Cazorla who is ill in bed today I have just been informed so he certainly will not be available for Sunday.
“We have at the moment no Ramsey, and if Cazorla is not available then we are a bit short in midfield and he is welcome back.
“I play a team with a good opportunity, a good chance to qualify. Will I rest one player, or two or three, I don’t know yet. Certainly we will just have one focus, which is to win the game.”