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Arsenal flops ‘hurting’ after Bradford blow, insists Wenger

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere (crouched) and Tomas Rosicky looks dejected after a penalty shootout defeat to Bradford City. Photo: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Arsenal's Jack Wilshere (crouched) and Tomas Rosicky looks dejected after a penalty shootout defeat to Bradford City. Photo: Mike Egerton/EMPICS

Saturday, December 15, 2012
8:57 AM

Arsene Wenger claims his Arsenal players are all hurting after hitting a new low in their Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford - and insists he is the right man to help them turn things around.

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The French manager, 63, has in recent weeks come under intense scrutiny, which intensified following a dramatic penalty shoot-out loss away to the npower League Two club.

Wenger has not delivered a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup and there have been calls for him to step aside, while the players have come in for criticism following a string of poor displays.

However, the long-serving Arsenal boss, whose deal runs until the summer of 2014, has no doubt he and his team can improve.

“You think they don’t care and they go home and think they had a fantastic game? They do care,” Wenger said.

“We prepare for games seriously.

“I have had groups who had fantastic results who were less serious than these players, believe me, players who were less focused than this team. Of course these players are hurting.”

Wenger, who sits on board meetings, has been criticised as being too powerful within the club - branded “a dictator in many ways” by one former Arsenal player, Stewart Robson.

The former Monaco boss, however, feels his experiences give him a position of strength.

“My job is to be determined and give importance to what is important,” Wenger said ahead of the Premier League game at Reading on Monday night.

“What is important is I love football, I love this club and I give my best for this club. The rest, I cannot interfere with.

“Believe me, I am highly focused on doing that and all the rest, that doesn’t interfere with my thinking at all.

“I am very determined and very hungry.”

Wenger added: “I can understand that people criticise when the results are not as expected, but it looks like it has become the modern way to think.”

Despite their inconsistency in the Premier League, Arsenal are still within striking distance of the top four and unlike both Chelsea and Manchester City they have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League once again.

Wenger said: “This season at the moment we are not happy with what we have produced, but we will turn it around before the end of the season.”

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