Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reveals Szczesny and Koscielny feel 'destroyed' after error hands Birmingham League Cup

Boss admits defeat is difficult to take
By Wayne Veysey at Wembley Stadium

Arsene Wenger revealed that Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny both feel “destroyed” following their last-minute League Cup final mix-up.

The Arsenal manager said the pair had apologised to their team-mates afterwards for the mistake that allowed Obafemi Martins to slot in the winner for Birmingham.

“Both are destroyed,” Wenger said in his post-match press conference. “We have to lift them up and help them. That’s what a team is about. This is part of the game as well.

“It (the goal) was a lack of communication and a lack of determination a little bit as well. Always, when the ball is in no-man’s land, somebody has to take responsibility and go for it. Nobody was going for the ball on either side.

“We made a mistake that left us no time to respond. Congratulations to Birmingham. They took advantage of that, which hurts us tremendously. It’s a massive disappointment for the team.”

Wenger admitted it will be difficult to pick his players up after they failed to end the club’s six-year trophy drought.

He said: “We face a lot of questions after that mistake tonight but we have to be strong enough to stand up and be strong enough to come back. We have to pick ourselves up and face the other challenges we have.

“We don’t deny that. We have massive challenges in front us – in the Premier League, the Champions League and the Carling Cup. The Carling Cup is four or five games, the championship season is 38 games and we do not throw the season away because of one game. What the team is achieving is tremendous.

“We lost today in the last minute. It’s difficult to take because we are used to winning. What’s difficult to take is to lose so many players. We lost [Theo] Walcott and [Cesc] Fabregas on Wednesday. Birmingham played a reserve team [in midweek] against Sheffield Wednesday and physically we had a disadvantage.

“We had some problems to start the game because the number of games catches us up a bit. It took us a while to get into the pace of game.

"In the second half we were on top. We could not score the second goal even though we had enough chances to kill off the game. We made a mistake that left us no time to respond.”

Wenger revealed that Arsenal’s goalscorer Robin van Persie had picked up a “knee problem” scoring his goal, which led to him being substituted in the second half.

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