Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal developing real thirst for Carling

Arsenal have fundamentally changed their attitude towards the Carling Cup for a variety of reasons.

Manager Arsene Wenger was asked directly for the motivation behind his decision to pick much stronger teams in all stages of this year's competition in the aftermath of Tuesday's 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic that put the north London club in the semi-finals.

He responded directly to the journalist, saying: “It would get you to ask me some different questions.”

The remark was partly in jest, but also touched on a nerve with Wenger, who has grown weary of fielding questions about his team's failure to win any trophy since the FA Cup in May 2005.

For the players, the motivation is clear. They have forgotten what it is like to win a trophy, and believe that the Carling Cup could be a springboard to greater glories.

In his programme notes, captain Cesc Fabregas, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury, said: “We know that the Carling Cup is maybe not a priority for the fans but for us it's a very important trophy. We want to win, and to start feeling what it means to win trophies.”

The sentiment is shared by Denilson, who said: “The first cup, if you win the Carling Cup then after will come the FA Cup, then after Premier League and Champions League.”

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