FOOTBALL : Arsene Wenger insists he is doing the right thing by treating the Carling Cup purely as a breeding ground for his younger players.
Arsene Wenger insists he is doing the right thing by treating the Carling Cup purely as a breeding ground for his younger players.
Although Arsenal were competing in their sixth successive semi-final last night, the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at Eastlands is more important to some Gunners fans because it has robbed the club of a potential trophy.
Yet Wenger is standing by his philosophy because he just does not view the Carling Cup as a trophy of any consequence, and said: “I know we have not won a trophy since 2005 but I do not consider that if you win the Carling Cup you will be going on a trophy parade. It is a competition for our younger players. If I don’t play them here where would I play them?”
He added: “We played in the quarter-final of the Champions League last season against top teams. Playing in those matches is 10 times harder than playing in the Carling Cup.”
In fact, Wenger felt his youngsters learned some valuable lessons themselves on Wednesday night given the intensity City were forced to play at in order to satisfy their own demanding public.
“Our young players are not used to matches of that intensity,” said Wenger. “They found it a little bit difficult.
“I suppose this is the price you pay for having a policy like the one I choose.
“But I also feel if this game had been played at our ground, we would have won.”