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Dec 11, 2012

Wenger not embarrassed by cup exit

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal have no reason to be embarrassed by their Capital One Cup defeat to Bradford.

• Dimond: Gunners must lure Pep
• Brewin: All-powerful Wenger on the wane

Wenger has traditionally used the competition to blood his youngsters, but having fielded a near full-strength side, the Frenchman saw the Gunners crash out at the quarter-final stage on penalties.

Thomas Vermaelen's late header secured a 1-1 draw in normal time at the Coral Windows Stadium, but it was the Arsenal captain who missed the decisive final spot-kick after Marouane Chamakh and Santi Cazorla failed with their shootout attempts.

But Wenger refused to criticise his team after they were dumped out by a League Two side, and insisted there was no problem with the players, despite having won just one of their last six matches in all competitions.

"We did absolutely everything for 120 minutes and you have to give credit to Bradford," Wenger said. "You feel embarrassed when you don't give everything, I think they'll be more disappointed and frustrated."

"It was a great cup tie on a tough pitch and I cannot fault the effort from my players. It was a typical English cup tie and Bradford got on top of us. They started stronger than us and congratulations to them.

"We played with basically five strikers but couldn't score. You have to say they defended very, very well. In a cup tie any team always has a chance.

"I don't think there's any psychological problem with the players when it comes to knockout ties. I don't think it's a lack of quality. We will get over this - it is part of our job - and focus on the next game."

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson said: "The lads were terrific, the discipline they showed was great and the overall performance was outstanding.

"They were always going to dominate, they played their strongest team and are an outstanding side. But I give my lads such credit; the atmosphere was great and I hope we can have many more nights like this.

"We want to put Bradford City back on the map, the fans haven't had much to celebrate in the last few years - we want to give them a team to be proud of and hopefully we've done that tonight."

Man of the match Gary Jones added: "This is one of the best days of my life. I can't believe we just knocked Arsenal out of the Cup. We had to keep our shape and discipline and we frustrated them, I'm lost for words."

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