Arsène Wenger looks to avenge Carling Cup final defeat

The Arsenal manager admits last season's defeat by Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final is still painful

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
arsene wenger
Wenger's side lost 2-1 to Birmingham in last season's final PA Photos

arsene wenger

Arsène Wenger admits Arsenal’s Carling Cup final defeat by Birmingham City last season still hurts.

The Gunners were denied their first trophy since 2005 when Obafemi Martins scored in the 89th minute at Wembley to secure a famous 2-1 victory for Alex McLeish’s side – but the Arsenal boss has vowed to make amends for the loss by winning the competition this season.

“It will hurt me forever because we never forget disappointments,” said Wenger, whose side host Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round on Tuesday.

“That’s part of life at a managerial level, you do not only have successes but disappointments too.

“People forget that we did fight very hard to get there and overall we produced great performances in the Carling Cup last year. That’s very important as well.

“There is hunger in this team no matter what competition. We want to do well in the Carling Cup, the championship, the Champions League, in every single competition.

“I don’t question the hunger of my team, they have an exceptional attitude. You can see now at the Emirates that our fans are behind the team because the attitude of the players is right.”

The Gunners manager has also backed summer signing Park Chu-Young to succeed at the Emirates.

The 26-year-old, who has only made one appearance for the Gunners since arriving from Monaco, is likely to feature against Bolton – and Wenger pointed to some former Arsenal legends who took time to settle in English football.

“Some players like [Robert] Pires and [Thierry] Henry took four, five, six months and they became exceptional players,” he said.

“Park arrived two months ago so that’s normal. Some people judged our players very quickly in a negative way and slowly they changed their mind through their performances.

“I prefer it that way round than the other. Some players make you jump off your seat in the early stages and then disappoint you after.

“These players will win over all the sceptical people and Park is one of them. It is hard in the Premier League but Park is a player with quality and intelligence.

“On the longer term that will always come out and I am confident he will do that in the Premier League as well.”

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