Wenger: United drubbing will be a 'one off'

February 17, 2008

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes there will be no lasting effects from the humiliating FA Cup defeat by championship rivals Manchester United.

The Frenchman - who said the state of the Old Trafford pitch on Saturday was 'a disgrace' - expects his side to recover in time for the Champions League match against AC Milan on Wednesday.

Not only that, he claims the 4-0 drubbing was a 'one-off' and will have little bearing on the title race.

Arsenal were already three goals down - with Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher and Nani on target - when Emmanuel Eboue was sent off.

Fletcher rubbed salt into their wounds by grabbing a fourth as United secured a place in the quarter-finals.

Wenger, who was short on numbers due to injuries, insisted: 'I am not worried about picking the players up for the Milan game.

'My only worry is that they will have recovered physically for it.

'It is massive match and we have to bounce back quickly from our disappointment. We will need to be at our best.

'The players have given me so much recently but unfortunately we were not up to the level required against United.

'At least we did not suffer any more injuries, so we might be able to find 16 players to face Milan.'

Wenger confirmed that both leading scorer Emmanuel Adebayor and Mathieu Flamini will be fit for the first leg game.

Arsenal are five points clear of United at the top of the table but you would never have guessed it as they were outplayed from start to finish.

But Wenger claims it will be different when they meet again in the league in April.

He said: 'I believe this result is a one-off. We will come back to Old Trafford in better shape and hopefully on a better pitch.

'The pitch is a disgrace. You have players worth £20-25million and you cannot play a pass without it bouncing.'

Wenger thought Eboue's sending-off in the 49th minute was 'harsh' but conceded they had been second best.

He said: 'It is difficult to find any positives from the performance.

'Even before the sending off we never looked like we could come back.

'It was difficult. We did not seem to have the physical resources that were needed. We were not up to our level.'