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Oct 30, 2013

Wenger defends Arsenal squad

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger swiftly rejected suggestions that his side's 2-0 Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea exposed the lack of depth in his squad after his second string players struggled to make an impact.

Nicklas Bendtner was among those who failed to win over Arsenal supporters who have questioned his return to the Gunners first team.

Mangan: Arsenal must re-focus

While Wenger refused to answer questions about the Dane's faltering display, he insisted the critics of his side's squad need to reserve their judgement.

"Don't go too quickly in the conclusions," he responded to questions about Chelsea having a stronger squad. "At the moment we have [Theo] Walcott, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain and [Lukas] Podolski who are out.

"It's three players who have a big impact offensively. If you put them in I believe that it's a completely different position in the team."

Wenger was in a less than jovial mood as he gave his judgement on a second successive defeat at the Emirates Stadium, even though he suggested the margin of defeat against Jose Mourinho's men was not as wide as it appeared to many who witnessed the game.

"Overall, it was a very tight game. It was decided by one or two opportunities and Chelsea exploited our mistake," he said. "We made it difficult for ourselves by giving the first goal away. It is easier in a big game when that happens. We had to come out every time and they are good on counter attack.

"There's a lot of positives in the game, there is as well negatives because we lost it and that we repeated a little bit giving the first goal away. In the big games you give yourselves a mountain to climb, especially when you play against a team who defends well and is good on the counter-attacks.

"Of course it's difficult [to lose two successive games at home]. That's part of the season you know you will not win all of the games, but we have to respond well on Saturday against Liverpool.

"We are in a strong position in the league and we have a good opportunity at home and we have to turn this round because away from home we are very solid but at home as well you know that it is important and vital to win the big games."

Wenger added: "I think if you take the points we have made since January 1, it's more than everybody else. I believe that, over a longer distance, you'll see more of the quality of the team than in the last two games.

"It is true that it is difficult to swallow what happened to us in the last week the Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund], but as well the mistakes are so big that they can be corrected.

"We have to keep the basis of our game and go into the next one with that and get those mistakes out [of our system]."

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