Arsene Wenger takes positives despite Arsenal defeat


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The Independent Football

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reserved special praise for young winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain despite his side losing 1-0 at home to Manchester City in the Carling Cup quarter-finals last night.

City reached the final four thanks to a late strike from substitute Sergio Aguero, but Wenger highlighted the performance of 18-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain.

He said: "Chamberlain the whole night looked like he could deliver something special and he has shown already he has moved forward. He has improved a lot."

There may now be pressure from the Arsenal supporters to see Oxlade-Chamberlain on a more frequent basis but Wenger believes he has adopted the correct policy with the 18-year-old former Southampton player.

"The experience shows that it is good sometimes to be positive and patient," Wenger said.

"I was very patient with him until now and it is important sometimes to hold them back a little bit and keep them on the training ground."

Oxlade-Chamberlain had long been linked with a move to Emirates Stadium and made the switch from Southampton for a reported £12million over the summer.

Despite the fee, Wenger has resisted the temptation to plunge the youngster into the side on a regular basis, and he claims the youngster is developing all the time.

Wenger said: "(I was surprised) by the consistency of his game. You pushed him off the ball too easily two months ago.

"His strength and endurance is now there and that is important at the top level of course."

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini did not have the same feelings towards one of his own big-money summer signings, as former Gunner Samir Nasri looked tired on his return to north London.

The France international left Arsenal under a cloud and the home fans let him know they did not approve of his move to the north-west, although Mancini believes Nasri will eventually come good.

"He can play better because he is a top player," Mancini said.

"I think that he can improve a lot but it was the same situation with who arrived last year like Edin (Dzeko) and David (Silva).

"It (the win) is not important for him, it is important for the team. For him it is better that he played tonight so when he comes back to play here in the league he knows what will happen."