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We've proved we have leaders, says Wenger

ESPN staff
March 31, 2014 « They're not big and they're not clever! | Test Wayin World Cup »
Arsenal 'bounced back' from their Chelsea nightmare

Arsene Wenger has once again hit back at Paul Scholes' suggestion his Arsenal side lack backbone by hailing his team's "leaders" for holding Manchester City to a 1-1 draw.

Following Arsenal's 6-0 thrashing at Chelsea, former Manchester United midfielder Scholes claimed Arsenal "didn't have any leaders" and were a "million miles from a title challenge".

His outburst on Sky Sports drew an angry reaction from Wenger and, while the Frenchman admitted his team had endured a nightmare week, in which they also dropped points to Swansea, he was pleased with their response after falling behind against City.

Wenger said: "We have leaders in this team. It's a real courage, still to be available when you are insecure, to want the ball when your confidence is not there.

"We have shown we can fight, that we can be united and we can respond to adversity. It's not pleasant when people who are in the job criticise the players but you don't give too much importance to that.

"The last week has been very hard, but very positive as well as it is always a chance to show you have mental strength.

"I am very proud of my players because they have shown that against Manchester City. We have gone through an absolute nightmare - we have gone through a storm this week. It is difficult to protect the players from that. The only way you can deal with it is to respond on the pitch.

"How bad has this week been? Very bad, very, very bad. We went through a nightmare at Chelsea where you think you have not even a chance to play the game. On top of that, in the last second of the game, we score an own goal in the match after, against Swansea."

Wojciech Szczesny reinforced Wenger's view about the positive impact the City draw has had on Arsenal.

But the goalkeeper admitted it was the least the players could deliver after the manager and the supporters down.

"We have not had a great time in the last couple of games, but it is all about responding well and that is what we did," Szczesny, who could do nothing to stop the six-goal Chelsea humiliation which ruined Wenger's 1,000th match in charge, said.

"Of course it was difficult times, but we knew if we stuck together, carried on working properly then a result would come. Hopefully now we can kick on.

"We owed it to the manager, the fans and everyone at the club, ourselves as well. We lost 6-0 (at Chelsea) and that is embarrassing for players who represent this club.

"You want to prove to yourself and prove to everyone around you that you are better than that. We have still got a lot to play for, the FA Cup and we are in a decent position in the league, so we will be on our toes and at our very best to go on and win all the games.

"I am confident we can have a very good run-in and finish strong."

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