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Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round

Wenger stays upbeat in Greece

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was not too down-hearted despite defeat at Olympiakos leaving them runners-up in Group B of the UEFA Champions League.

Last Updated: 05/12/12 at 09:46 Post Comment

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The Gunners boss has endured a torrid few weeks with fan protests and speculation about his future.

And although his team threw away a half-time lead in Greece to lose 2-1 with Schalke taking top spot, his less experienced players provided a boost to his mood.

"Some of the young players did very well for an hour and that's very positive," the Frenchman said.

"It wasn't the result we wanted but it was a very encouraging game. Now we have to wait for the draw, but ideally you want to finish first in the group."

With qualification to the last 16 knockout stages assured, Wenger made seven changes from the miserable weekend home defeat to Swansea.

Tomas Rosicky opened the scoring for the English visitors, only for Ioannis Maniatis and Kostas Mitroglou to hit back and snatch victory.

Wenger was unhappy with the hosts' equaliser, with a corner awarded despite goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny not touching the ball, and said: "It was a goal kick, simple as that. What a FIFA official is doing behind the line, nobody knows.

"It's not the right decision but you have to cope with it. After that they scored a good goal. We had a good first half but then we dropped physically in the second half.

"Many of the players are not used to that level and overall we had two or three chances to score that second goal. We didn't do that and knowing in the last 20 minutes we could be in trouble. We needed that second goal."

The 20-year-old defender Jernade Meade, in particular, was picked out for high praise, impressing on his Champions League debut.

"He tired late on but he was my pick," Wenger added.

Wenger refused to discuss his plans for business in the transfer window, but added: "What's important is we do well until January.

"We have big games coming up and the most important thing is to focus on the players we have to win these games."

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es, these stats are right. Rio Ferdinand definitely had a better debut than Fernando.

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know it's only one game, and Arsenal have got an amazing midfield as is; but seriously, is Arsene Wenger the only person on Earth who doesn't want Cesc at their club?

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S - 'Squeezes [English] out of his mouth like it's an elastic band he's found in his lamb bhuna' - bravo. Marvellous stuff

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