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Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round

Wenger backs Bendtner quality

Arsene Wenger feels Nicklas Bendtner has the "qualities" to play a key role in Arsenal's challenge for trophies this season.

Last Updated: 05/12/13 at 11:11 Post Comment

The Dane started a Premier League game for the Gunners for the first time in almost three years and was on target within two minutes as Arsenal stayed top of the table with a 2-0 win over Hull City.

Bendtner was substituted in the 73rd minute but showed enough for Wenger to believe he can contribute plenty in the remainder of the season.

"It was a good performance from Nicklas. He has come back and worked hard in training. I know he has the qualities to play for us and he showed that tonight.

"When he has that type of attitude and commitment it shows that he has the qualities. Much depends on his commitment and fitness. He has worked hard recently but when he is physically sharp he can compete with anybody."

Wenger was pleased with much of what he saw in Arsenal's win over the Tigers - but would still like his side to be more clinical in front of goal.

"We were in control yes and showed good technical quality and very good attitude. We never gave up. What I like less is that we could not take all our chances and there was room to score more.

"We score some goals that show real quality in our passing and movement; some was outstanding. Let's just keep our attitude, desire and togetherness.

"I have a squad that is broad with quality and with fantastic spirit."

The Gunners' victory saw them maintain a four-point lead over second-placed Chelsea, who won 4-3 at relegation battlers Sunderland, and moved further ahead of Manchester United, who lost at home to Everton.

Wenger, though, will not rule the champions out of the title race just yet.

"It is a surprising defeat [to Everton], but it is still early," Wenger said. "We have seen that before, 12 points, only on us.

"We have just to keep winning to have a chance, and not worry too much about the others."

Arsenal host Everton on Sunday, then travel to Napoli for their final Champions League group match before a crunch clash at Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime.

Wenger said: "We have a very heavy schedule, that's why as well I had to rest some players today and to rotate.

"There is little distance between Everton and [the Napoli game]. We play Wednesday night in Naples and Saturday morning at Man City, so for us it is a very, very heavy schedule."

Wenger continued: "It is not fair or unfair, it is just no co-ordination between the television choices because you would say that we could have played on Saturday against Everton and we could play Sunday or Monday against Man City.

"It looks strange that we play Saturday morning and our next game after that is Monday night against Chelsea nine days later.

"Especially when there is little time between a decisive Champions League game on Wednesday night and Saturday 12.45pm."

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