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Wenger: Win strengthens philosophy

Arsene Wenger believes that beating Barcelona proves that Arsenal are on the right track and should not change the way they approach the game.

• Leyton Orient v Arsenal preview

Arsenal are now into their sixth year without a trophy, something which may change when they take on Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final on February 27, and critics have suggested that the Gunners need to add steel to their artistry.

But Wenger has never wavered from his policy of buying promising young talent and nurturing them into first team players, as well as not overspending on top-name stars and playing an attractive passing game. Many claimed Arsenal would have to play a more defensive style to beat free-scoring Barca - as Inter Milan had done last year - but Wenger stayed true to his beliefs.

Arsenal defeated Barcelona 2-1 at the Emirates on Wednesday night which gives them a chance of making the quarter-finals of the Champions League, though the La Liga leaders remain favourites to progress at the Nou Camp in three weeks' time.

"I'm very proud for Arsenal FC. Everyone urged us to play differently to our nature,'' said Wenger. "This win can strengthen belief in our philosophy, which is more important than pride.

"It was a special night for my team. Our players showed exceptional strength and togetherness. The victory will reinforce that. The age of the team which started is very, very young. What we can do at this age is very promising for the future and our target is to keep them together.

"We have the FA Cup on Sunday and that competition is very different. In England you have to be focused for these kind of things.''

Theo Walcott is expected to recover from a mild hamstring problem in time to face Leyton Orient in the cup but defender Johan Djourou is out after suffering a back problem.

"We have a little concern about Walcott's hamstring but it should be all right,'' Wenger told Arsenal's official website. "There will be some rotation. We will see what I do. We play Sunday, Wednesday and then Sunday again. But I have shown in many competitions that I have the same belief in every player.''


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