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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 September, 2003, 05:27 GMT 06:27 UK
Arsenal out to restore pride
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger wants his side to bounce back
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping his side can bounce back from their recent European setback in Sunday's Premiership clash with Manchester United.

Arsenal suffered a humiliating Champions League defeat to Inter Milan on Wednesday and Wenger admits that his players' morale has been low.

But the Frenchman believes that the trip to Old Trafford will be the perfect chance to prove the Gunners' team spirit - and leapfrog Chelsea to reclaim the lead in the Premiership.

The mood in the Arsenal camp dipped further this week following the death of Sol Campbell's father.

The England defender is likely to miss Sunday's crucial game as a result, but Wenger insists Arsenal can bounce back.

But Wenger said: "I think the players are still disappointed and down, but this is a chance to bounce back and show our mental strength.

"When you go into a season, you know that you will have these kind of disappointments. Any club will, it is how you respond to them that will decide the season.

"If we lose to Manchester United, then people will say `the season is over, go home'. But there will still be 32 games to play and we are in a marathon."

Wenger added: "The defeat in midweek would have been more terrible if it was a direct knockout. The season has only just started and this is a good fixture to have now.

I was surprised at Wednesday's result because you don't expect Arsenal to lose that way
Sir Alex Ferguson
"It will have a psychological impact on the season and will be a guide of where we stand. We are top of the league and this is a chance to bounce back to the level we want to be."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is also wary of a backlash following Arsenal's European misery in midweek, but his own side are buoyant following their 5-0 thrashing of Panathinaikos on Tuesday.

"I was surprised at Wednesday's result because you don't expect Arsenal to lose that way," admitted Ferguson.

"But I don't see that result as having any significance on Sunday.

"People are saying they will be even more determined at Old Trafford, but there is only so much effort you can put into a match and I am sure they were determined on Wednesday."

Ferguson added: "Our form has been good and the players deserved all the praise which came their way after Tuesday's game.

"It was the best we have played this season and was the perfect scenario for me because I was able to protect some of the players who were carrying little knocks by bringing them off quite early."

Ferguson has doubts over Roy Keane, John O'Shea, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Mikael Silvestre and Nicky Butt, while Paul Scholes has already been ruled out with a hernia problem.




SEE ALSO
Chelsea go top
20 Sep 03  |  Premiership



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