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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 14 hours ago
Read
Feb 18, 2013

Wenger trusts in Arsenal

Arsenal manager loses his temper during his pre-match press conference.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted that Saturday's shock FA Cup defeat against Blackburn will not derail his side's hopes of glory in the Champions League.

• Blog: Are you sitting comfortably?
• Blog: Workmanlike Bayern
• Arteta: We can't start slowly

Wenger has challenged his team to prove their critics wrong after the latest blow to their troubled season last weekend, with the Arsenal boss dismissing the suggestion that he will have to convince his players that they have what it takes to beat Bayern Munich in their first-leg tie at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

When asked whether he faces a challenge to lift the spirits of his team after the Blackburn setback, he replied: "Why? You have to take distance with that. This has happened to many teams and, to analyse the game, we lost against a team who had one shot on goal.

"It's not like we have not touched the ball in the game against Blackburn. Football is part of skill, intelligence and some things are unpredictable. What is important is that we play to win this competition and, at some stage, you will need to play against a good team.

"If I listen to the questions (from the media), we are not favourites, but I trust our quality, I trust our spirit and I trust our mental strength, so I will see you tomorrow. What is important is we play at our best and play with belief."

Wenger is convinced his players will be fully focused on the task in hand against Bayern, as he has moved to remind them that they have been in decent form in the Premier League over the last month.

"It's difficult to take a distance from the recent emotion, but the fact is we are on a good run in the Premier League and we take some strength from that," he added. "Only two teams in England have qualified for the Champions League and many would swap with our position. What is important is to focus on the quality of our game. This game is played over 180 minutes and we should not rush our game."

Wenger has confirmed that centre-back Laurent Koscielny is a doubt for Tuesday's game, but Per Mertesacker and Carl Jenkinson will return to Wenger's squad to bolster his defensive options.

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