Wenger: Belgrade draw ‘frustrating’ but a valuable lesson for young players

03 November 2017 08:54

Arsene Wenger believes his young players can take plenty of lessons from their Europa League draw at home to Red Star Belgrade.

The Gunners, showing 11 changes from the weekend win over Swansea, laboured to a 0-0 stalemate with the Serbian SuperLiga side. It proved to be enough to confirm Arsenal’s place in the last 32 of the competition following Cologne’s 5-2 victory over BATE Borisov in Group H’s other match.

Wenger has used a rotation policy so far, resting his Premier League stars for both Europa League and Carabao Cup games, but jeers met the final whistle following an unconvincing display against Red Star at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

“It’s frustrating when you don’t score,” he said when asked about the supporters’ reaction to the draw. But overall you understand that with many young players in the team, that’s part of the learning process for them, playing these types of games.

“You could see tonight it was a very intense game, and with the number of games we play, we want to play in every single competition. I will continue (rotating) at the moment.”

Jack Wilshere was again given a chance to impress having missed out on a recall to the senior England squad earlier in the day.

He came closest to winning the game for Arsenal, only to see his second-half chip cleared off the line, and Wenger believes a Three Lions return could yet be on the cards.

“He needs these kind of games to come back to his best level,” he said when asked about Wilshere. “And he needs to be injury-free for a long period until the end of the season, and get games like that. He’s not involved (with England) but if he keeps his fitness, maybe next time (he will be).”

Cologne’s victory means Red Star remain second on five points and are in contention to join Arsenal at the competition’s next stage.

Their manager, Vladan Milojevic, said: “It was a similar match to the one in Belgrade (where Arsenal won 1-0). Our plan was to play even better, to correct some errors from Belgrade. We knew Arsenal would press but that we needed to take our chances. We should have scored, there were some good chances for us.

“Loads of Premier League teams don’t play as well as we did against Arsenal. I have to congratulate my players.”

Source: By PA Sport Staff