Wenger gives backing to Bendtner
Arsene Wenger has every confidence in Nicklas Bendtner - and hopes the young Denmark striker can help fire Arsenal into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with victory over Porto tonight.
The 22-year-old missed a string of golden chances during the 3-1 Barclays Premier League win over Burnley on Saturday.
Bendtner - just back from a three-month injury lay-off - is well-known for his confidence, and was able to smile as he was replaced late on in the match, his poor finishing fortunately not proving costly in the final outcome.
Wenger, though, sees no reason to think the young striker will not soon be back among the goals.
"I believe he is on the way up in his game and in terms of his contribution," said the Arsenal manager, whose side must do without captain Cesc Fabregas as they look to overturn a 2-1 deficit if they are to progress into the last eight.
"He missed some big chances on Saturday, but that is needed for any young striker at some stage.
"He looks at why he missed the chances and gets it right in the next game."
Wenger added: "Nicklas is really improving at the moment. That was just an isolated game.
"In every competition you always have something to prove and show how good you are.
"He has a good mental strength and, even if he was disappointed with the chances he missed, it will not diminish his desire and confidence to going to the next game."
Arsenal have not overturned a first-leg deficit in European competition since the UEFA Cup tie against Hajduk Split in 1978, the Gunners going out of the Champions League to Bayern Munich (2004/2005), PSV Eindhoven (2006/2007) and last season Manchester United after losing away.
Wenger, though, maintains tonight will be different, as Sol Campbell's goal in Porto could prove crucial.
"There is always something new in our game and we have a good opportunity to change history," he said.
"This team has a good chance to make history. This is a very young team and we want to win.
"We have scored away from home which is still a massive advantage, and that is why were are confident we can do it."
Porto were thrashed 4-0 on their last visit to Emirates Stadium during September 2008, their worst away reverse in the competition.
Wenger feels that result will have no bearing when the Portuguese side return to north London.
He said: "I do not think anyone will be complacent.
"We know it will be a tricky game, but we believe we can do it.
"We have good confidence, we are in a good position, so let's go for it."
Should Porto net an away goal, then the scenario of a penalty shoot-out would be on.
Arsenal needed spot-kicks to progress at this stage of the competition last season against Roma.
Wenger, though, did not set up a penalty session yesterday.
"We always practice penalties in training, but not the day before a game because it can have negative influences if you miss," he said.
"However let's see the game in a positive way. We hope we will qualify without penalties."
Latest in Sport
Hull v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger admits 'I am not in the best position' as contract uncertainty continues
Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
Steven Gerrard profile: the Lion of Liverpool who embodies fight for Hillsborough justice and is poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
Spurs ‘agree deal’ with former Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri
Chelsea v Sunderland: Premier League match preview
- 1 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 4 Angus Steakhouse: How does tourist staple continue to thrive in today's gourmet market?
- 5 Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back