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  Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK
Wenger shrugs off setback
Freddie Ljungberg sits dejectedly on the ground at the final whistle
Freddie Ljungberg experienced a frustrating night
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to press the panic button after his side slumped to a second surprise defeat within four days against Auxerre.

Having suffered a first Premiership loss in 10 months at Everton, the Gunners must wait to secure their Champions League qualification after a shock 2-1 reverse at Highbury.

They still require a point to guarantee their place in the second group stage, and travel to Borussia Dortmund next week.

But Wenger insisted: "There is no basic reason to be alarmist. You have periods like these in a season.


We had not recovered from the shock of losing on Saturday
Arsene Wenger

"I believe this team is strong mentally and will recover from tonight. It's very important that we bounce back now, that's the biggest thing.

"We still need a point to qualify. So nothing has changed from the start of the game."

Wenger refused to single out individuals for blame despite the uncertainty displayed by keeper David Seaman and his defence.

Their hesitance allowing the French side to open a 2-0 lead inside the first half-hour.

Auxerre's Khalilou Fadiga (right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring his side's second goal
Khalilou Fadiga (right) celebrates scoring Auxerre's second goal

"We win and lose as a team," Wenger argued. "There was not the usual defensive stability and we gave them too much room but I'm not here to say if it was anyone's fault.

"The most important thing is that we lost to a good team so give credit to Auxerre. They started very well, while we had not recovered from the shock of losing on Saturday.

"We reacted positively in the second half and gave everything but finished jaded physically."

Not even a strike by Kanu just after the interval or the return of Robert Pires from injury as a substitute managed to inspire Arsenal to a comeback.

But Wenger insisted his side would be ready for the visit of Blackburn to Highbury on Saturday.

 VOTE RESULTS
Has Arsenal's bubble burst?

Yes
 42.85% 

No
 57.15% 

20681 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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