Arsene Wenger tells Arsenal players not to dwell on Bradford humiliation
Gunners travel to Reading tonight
Sunday 16 December 2012
Arsène Wenger believes the key to solving Arsenal's recent travails lies within his own players. They head to Reading on Monday night in need of a confidence boost following the shock penalty shoot-out defeat at League Two Bradford in the Capital One Cup.
Wenger accepts the atmosphere has been somewhat subdued at Arsenal's Hertfordshire training base last week, but maintains it is now up to the players to show their strength of character.
"There has been disappointment and frustration, but that is normal when you go out in a competition like that," Wenger said. "However, having said that, we can only look at ourselves, get on with it and look for the future."
Although there have been plenty of calls for a fresh voice at the helm, Wenger maintains he is the right man to turn Arsenal's fortunes around. He has received a vote of confidence from one of his predecessors, George Graham.
Graham expects Wenger to remain at Arsenal for "a few more years", but accepts the Frenchman must rediscover his knack for unearthing talent and transforming them into world-class players.
He said: "Let's give Arsène the credit. He brought in players for average prices, Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, Marc Overmars, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit.
"They were all very good players unknown to the fans in England that he turned into fantastic world-class players. That was his strength. He did it on a tight budget so it's not like they are now going to go out and break the transfer record. They have never done it during Arsene's reign so in my opinion he has got to get his magic hat on again and go out and see if he can get players of that quality at good prices."
Graham added: "Arsène's first period at the club, for seven years was probably the most attractive and attacking football I've ever seen in English football.
"He won three League titles and four FA Cups. He set the standard and unfortunately in the last few seasons the standard is just slowly slipping away. But there is a lot of hysterical criticism about Wenger now. If you want to stay in the top four, he is the man without question. I think Wenger will stay there. He is very powerful at the club and rightly so."
One of Arsenal's academy products, 23-year-old England defender Kieran Gibbs, believes Wenger's work in developing raw talents such as himself can never be underestimated. "He has built a reputation for signing players for a modest fee and turning them into great players," Gibbs said.
"I don't think many people in England had really heard of Thomas Vermaelen before he arrived and yet he became an instant fan favourite at the club. The manager has an eye for noticing the potential in promising players."
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Latest in Sport
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Gareth Bale puts five-bedroom Essex mansion up for sale at £2.2m following £86m switch from Tottenham to Real Madrid
Former England captain Mick Mills 'turned a blind eye' to initiation ceremony abuse at Stoke City, which included sexual assault dubbed 'The Glove'
Manchester United player ratings: The best (and worst) performers for David Moyes during the season so far
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial