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Arsene Wenger on the performance of the youngsters and Diaby


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says the young players who played in the League Cup showed heart and determination.

The Gunners crashed out of the competition after a 1-2 defeat against Ronald Koeman's impressive side but the Frenchman insists his side had enough possession to score more goals in the second half.

"I think if we lost the game tonight it's not because of Hayden and it's not because of Chambers. It's not because of Coquelin," Wenger said after the match.

"We have to be realistic. I don't want to go into any individual assessment because it's always very easy after defeat - but I felt we gave a lot.

"I cannot fault the spirit and I cannot fault the attitude. I think the first reason for our defeat is the quality of our opponent and the performance of our opponent.

"The fact that we couldn't score - we scored from a free-kick but apart from that we couldn't score.

"If you look at the amount of possession we had in the second half, and you play for so long with the amount of possession we had, you have to score."

Midfielder Abou Diaby was back in the line-up after yet another spell on the sidelines and the Frenchman admits the 28-year-old is still short of fitness.

"Of course. It was difficult for him but he got 60 minutes and he was not injured," Wenger added.

"At some stage he has to play. He had 90 minutes [for the under-21s] at Villa last week. He played 60 minutes tonight. He was not bad, he was acceptable as a performance but he tired after an hour.

"I try to transform it [his role in a defensive minded one], yes because I feel because he was injured for a long time and he has the physical potential to win the challenges, to face the game will be easier for him than to play with his back to goal with the injuries he had.

"I tried to develop him in a deeper role, I think he can do it. He can be very interesting because he has all the attributes to do it. After, he must love it as well because he's more of an offensive-minded player."

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Abou Diaby, Arsene Wenger