Wenger's a winner with a draw

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted the 0-0 draw with River Plate in the Amsterdam ArenA was no crowd-pleaser but still believes it was a useful exercise for his younger players.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted the 0-0 draw with River Plate in the Amsterdam ArenA was no crowd-pleaser but still believes it was a useful exercise for his younger players.

Wenger kept most of his big guns - including Thierry Henry and Real Madrid target Patrick Vieira - on the sidelines against the legendary Buenos Aires outfit.

River also fielded an experimental team and chances were few and far between in what was an unimpressive spectacle in a tournament that also features hosts Ajax and Greek champions Panathinaikos.

Wenger told Sky Sports: "It was a real pre-season game.

"I must say it wasn't an interesting game to watch but as a coach it was interesting to judge young players.

"What I knew already was confirmed today but it's a good learning process for the young players - if you are too slow you lose the ball.

"He singled out Spanish international Jose Reyes for praise - the former Sevilla player was the most creative player on the night but faces new competition in the form of Dutchman Robin van Persie, signed from Feyenoord.

"Reyes played in the centre and wide because during the season that will happen," said Wenger.

"He's comfortable on the left - you can see he's played many times there.

"He wants to play central - every player does - because he gets the ball there.

"Van Persie is a bit the same - but you need players to play wide.

" Wenger admitted that the players who featured in Euro 2004 are all battle-weary - his starting XI against River featured mainly reserves and two triallists in Manu Eboue and Marco Ne.

"We have many injuries from the European Championships and the worst is Sol Campbell," said the Frenchman who recently turned down an overture to become coach of Germany.

"But Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry should be ready in two weeks.

" Wenger confessed that the speculation about Vieira - who has been persistently linked with Real Madrid - had unsettled the team.

He said: "It has been disturbing because we want to speak about the experience of the team and what's happening next season.

"We don't want to focus on negative stories for the club - but we can deal with it.

" Asked if there had been any further developments he said: "No - no news.

No news at all.

" However, he claimed there was still money in the Highbury coffers should he need to make an addition to the staff.

"We might still buy a player but no decision has been made," he said.

Comments