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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits League Cup final defeat to Birmingham City ‘hurts a lot’

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By Ryan Benson

27 Feb 2011 19:30:00

Carling Cup,Wojciech Szczesny,Arsenal vs Birmingham City

Carling Cup,Wojciech Szczesny,Arsenal vs Birmingham City

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that losing the League Cup final 2-1 to Birmingham City “hurts a lot” and blamed fatigue and nerves for the defeat at Wembley.

Birmingham won the game thanks to a goal each from Nikola Zigic and Obafemi Martins either side of an impressive Robin van Persie finish, with the Blues’ late winner coming from an embarrassing mistake between goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny.

However, Wenger seemed disappointed rather than angry, whilst also praising his team’s performance. Talking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the Frenchman said: “The team has shown a great response from being one nil down.

“We had a good performance and it’s important we take a lot of pride in our attitude. But unfortunately we don’t take the trophy home and that hurts, a lot.

“But there was little time to respond after that [Martins’ goal].”

The goal that gifted Birmingham their first League Cup trophy since 1963 will no doubt be blamed on young goalkeeper Szczesny, but Wenger believed that communication could’ve been a major factor in the mistake.

He continued: “It doesn’t just happen. You don’t practice hard to make mistakes, but what happened I put down to pressure, and as well to different communication, or maybe not enough communication.”

Wenger’s attention will now turn to lifting the players after defeat in a big match, and with such an inexperienced squad, he admits that it could be tough, but Koscielny and Szczesny will be the two who need lifting the most.

When asked if he thought it would be difficult to raise the spirits of the two players Wenger said: “Of course, but that’s part of our job, because there’s a massive challenge in front of us we do not want to miss them [Szczesny and Koscielny] because of this last minute of the game.”

Wenger was also asked what, if any, would be the main reasons for the loss, and he agreed when asked if he believed nerves were involved.

He said: “A little bit yes. We are still a team that plays under a lot of pressure to deliver and I feel as well we were jaded physically because we have played so many games.

“We played on Wednesday again and Birmingham didn’t play. You could see that they were sharper than us.”

The match turned to be even more sour for Arsenal and their manager as goalscorer Robin van Persie was substituted due to an injury, however Wenger declared he had no idea yet of the severity of the injury, adding simply:  “He is injured. I don’t know for how long.”

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits League Cup final defeat to Birmingham City ‘hurts a lot’

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