Johan Djourou says Arsenal can bounce back
Johan Djourou insists Arsenal possess the strength of character to respond to their Champions League disappointment and still have plenty of "big things" to look forwards to this season.
The Gunners were dumped out of Europe by Barcelona in the Nou Camp for the second successive season, where they lost 3-1 having seen striker Robin van Persie somewhat harshly sent off.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was left fuming by the decision of Swiss referee Massimo Busacca to show the Dutchman a second yellow card on 56 minutes after he shot on goal following a marginal offside call when the Barclays Premier League club had just equalised through an own goal from Sergio Busquets.
However, Barcelona - who trailed 2-1 from the first leg - were more than good value for their victory, dominating possession while the Gunners failed to muster a shot on target all night.
It has been a difficult couple of weeks for Wenger's side, who suffered a shock Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham at Wembley.
However, their hopes of a domestic double remain very much alive as they head to Premier League title rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
Centre-back Djourou maintains Wenger's young Gunners can answer the critics and finally deliver when it matters most.
"This team has a lot of character and we should be disappointed because we wanted to go through," the Swiss defender said.
"However, we cannot be down too much because we have got a big game on Saturday, and also in the league we have big things to look forwards to.
"There is only three points [difference] in the league, and so we will see.
"We have to keep our heads up and keep working.
"We are always going to be tested on how we respond, and the most important thing is to show we have the character to do that."
Wenger hopes his battle-weary troops can produce the required performance at Old Trafford.
"How big is this blow? We don't know. That depends on our response on Saturday at Manchester United," said the Arsenal manager, who could yet face UEFA action after his heated argument with referee Busacca after the final whistle last night.
Arsenal were dealt another injury blow last night when goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny suffered a dislocated finger as he saved Dani Alves' free-kick after 16 minutes.
The young Pole could now be facing an extended spell on the sidelines, leaving Manuel Almunia as the only fit senior keeper available.
Szczesny said: "Let's hope it's not as bad as it could possibly be. Of course, I am worried I might be out for some time.
"It is part of the game and there is nothing I can do at the moment.
"I knew straight away I would have to come off and spent half-time with the doctor trying to find out what is wrong with my finger."
Lukasz Fabianski has been ruled out for the rest of the season following shoulder surgery, while Vito Mannone has been troubled by a thigh injury while on loan at Hull.
Should Szczesny also be sidelined for a significant spell, Arsenal may have to draw on inexperienced youngster James Shea as cover or enter the emergency loan market.
Latest in Sport
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader