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Wenger backs under-fire Bendtner
Published : 09 Mar 2010 09:29:02
Arsene Wenger has every confidence in Nicklas Bendtner - and hopes the young Denmark striker can help fire Arsenal into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with victory over Porto on Tuesday night.
The 22-year-old, just back from a three-month injury lay-off, missed a string of golden chances during the 3-1 Barclays Premier League win over Burnley on Saturday, but Wenger sees no reason to think the young striker will not soon be back among the goals.
"I believe he is on the way up in his game and in terms of his contribution," said the Arsenal manager, whose side must do without captain Cesc Fabregas as they look to overturn a 2-1 deficit if they are to progress into the last eight.
"He missed some big chances on Saturday, but that is needed for any young striker at some stage. He looks at why he missed the chances and gets it right in the next game."
Wenger added: "Nicklas is really improving at the moment. That was just an isolated game.
"In every competition you always have something to prove and show how good you are. He has a good mental strength and, even if he was disappointed with the chances he missed, it will not diminish his desire and confidence to going to the next game."
Arsenal have not overturned a first-leg deficit in European competition since the UEFA Cup tie against Hajduk Split in 1978, the Gunners going out of the Champions League to Bayern Munich (2004/2005), PSV Eindhoven (2006/2007) and last season Manchester United after losing away.
Wenger, though, maintains Tuesday night will be different, as Sol Campbell's goal in Porto could prove crucial.
"There is always something new in our game and we have a good opportunity to change history," he said. "This team has a good chance to make history. This is a very young team and we want to win.
"We have scored away from home which is still a massive advantage, and that is why were are confident we can do it."