Belfast Telegraph

Gunners can roar again, says Arsene Wenger

By Jim van Wijk

Manager Arsene Wenger accepts Arsenal will feel a little smaller following defeat in their opening game against West Ham and says the response can define their season.

The Gunners head to Crystal Palace tomorrow aiming to pick themselves up from the bitter disappointment of losing 2-0 at home on the opening weekend of the Barclays Premier League.

Going into the new campaign, Wenger's squad - bolstered by the summer signing of veteran Petr Cech and having beaten Chelsea in the FA Community Shield at Wembley - were seen as genuine title contenders.

The Arsenal manager is confident that belief in the squad remains intact and it is how his players recover from such disappointments which will be the yardstick for success come May 2016.

"Every defeat makes you a bit smaller, but it is our job to take it in perspective with 37 games to go," said Wenger.

"We have the history behind us from the second half of the campaign last year which shows we have the quality to always respond and to be consistent, so let's focus on our quality.

"Defeat is part of the season and of course that was not planned, but we know it is how we respond to these kind of things that will make our season."

Following Sunday's loss, Wenger was left facing questions over the direction of his side, both under the media spotlight and from Arsenal's own supporters.

"We have a big following and disappointed people are emotional, that is understandable and it hurts us as well to disappoint people who have a high level of expectation," he said yesterday.

"A strong season is down to the way that you respond to disappointment so we will focus on our next game. We will prepare for that."

Belfast Telegraph


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