I've not yet learnt how to lose, says Wenger

Five seasons ago, after Newcastle United won at Highbury, Sir Bobby Robson pointedly remarked that "some people around here need to learn how to lose". Yesterday Arsène Wenger admitted, without embarrassment, he has yet to do so.

Ten years into the job he said he still takes defeat personally feeling every time Arsenal fail to win is "a real disaster". His mood this evening, as he takes his seat in the dug-out, will thus be edgy, for Arsenal desperately need to beat Hamburg in the Champions' League, the more so after William Gallas was ruled out for three weeks after breaking down in the final moments of yesterday's training session. With Lauren still out for another five weeks, Arsenal are condemned to fielding an inexperienced defence at a critical time. As well as tonight's tie, and the 10 December League meeting with Chelsea, his thigh injury will rule him out of Arsenal's concluding Group G fixture, away to Porto.

Without Gallas Wenger will not wish to go there needing victory, especially since there is a risk he could also be bereft of Thierry Henry. The captain will miss the Porto tie if he is booked this evening.

The lack of defensive experience ought not be an issue tonight for Hamburg are having a dreadful run of form, struggling in the Bundesliga, pointless in Europe. Their team tonight, according to one German observer, is "anybody's guess". They have won one of their last 21 fixtures, are already certain to finish bottom of Group G, and are one from bottom in the Bundesliga. After scrambling a goalless draw with bottom-club Mainz on Saturday, coach Thomas Doll said: "The performance simply was not good enough. This won't win football matches."

But Newcastle arrived at the Emirates in poor shape on Saturday yet snatched a point after scoring first, so Wenger will be instilling in his team the need to ensure they do not concede the opening goal.

He added: "Even if we don't score first we want to win. Every time we don't win a game it hurts me so much. Every game we do not win is a real disaster.

"I always say it still hurts the same no matter how long you have been in the game. For me my desire is stronger than it was. I personally have big problems to become philosophical. Newcastle was a game we should have won. I prefer not to say what I was like on Saturday night."

This ought not be a surprise, despite Wenger's reputation as "Le Professeur". In the last two seasons Wenger's growing intensity has seen him embroiled in touchline clashes with Martin Jol and Alan Pardew and, according to Sir Alex Ferguson, raise his fists to the Manchester United manager in the tunnel at Old Trafford. "We are in a job where you survive if you want to win," said Wenger. "If you cope well with defeats then you will not live for a long time in the job."

Echoing Alan Curbishley towards the end of his time at Charlton, Wenger added: "You cannot really switch off because you play every three days. It is difficult. The buzz you get from the victory becomes shorter because you anticipate the problems you have the next day. You always anticipate the next game and the one after. How can you make sure you win?"

The answer, for tonight, is to repeat the performance against CSKA Moscow but with better finishing. "We create a lot of chances and we want to convert our chances. But it's not because you want to do it that you necessarily do it. You have to play relaxed and focused, and the rest usually follows."

Although Gallas is absent, probably to be replaced by Johan Djourou as Philippe Senderos has only played two Carling Cup ties since being invalided out of the World Cup, Arsenal will have Gilberto Silva back to protect the defence. With Julio Baptista looking out of condition and touch on Saturday, Mathieu Flamini should fill in for Tomas Rosicky.

Hamburg are beset by injuries as well as shattered confidence but Rafael van der Vaart, fresh from his equaliser against England last week, is fit to play.

Arsenal (4-1-4-1 probable): Lehmann; Eboué, Touré, Djourou, Clichy; Gilberto; Hleb, Fabregas, Flamini, Van Persie; Henry.

Hamburg (4-4-2): Wachter; Fillinger, Mathijsen, Reinhardt, Atouba; Jarolim, Wicky, Van der Vaart, Mahdavikia; Ljuboja, Sangogo.

Referee: C Bo Larsen (Denmark).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world