Arsene Wenger backs Arsenal to ‘respond in a very strong way’ against Bournemouth

Arsene Wenger is confident Arsenal will numb the pain of the Boxing Day thrashing at Southampton.

Arsenal were defeated 4-0 at Southampton on Boxing Day to miss a chance to go top of the Premier League. Christopher Lee / Getty Images
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Arsene Wenger is confident Arsenal will numb the pain of the Boxing Day thrashing at Southampton on Monday.

The trip to St Mary’s seemingly offered the Frenchman’s side a great chance to go top of the Premier League, but a poor display saw them return to north London reeling from a shock 4-0 defeat.

There is little time for Arsenal to wallow, though, as the hectic festive period means they play another side from the south coast of England — Bournemouth.

“I believe what I say to my players is between my players and myself,” Wenger said after the 4-0 hammering at St Mary’s.

“These players have fantastic spirit and they can show that in 48 hours. We are in a job where we have to respond. We want to respond from disappointments.

“Unfortunately, there’s no possible career without disappointment. Nobody, not even the best players in the world, can have that.

“It’s down to how you respond and I trust my players to respond in a very strong way on Monday.”

Predictions: Spurs storm into third; Man United edge Chelsea; Liverpool fire five

Wenger praised the promoted side ahead of a match which could see the Arsenal belatedly reach the Premier League summit.

Surprise leaders Leicester do not face Manchester City until Tuesday, but Wenger is not concerned about starting 2016 in pole position.

“I said before the game, whether we are one point behind or one point in front it is not too important,” he said.

“It is the quality of our performance that counts and we were not good enough to win the game (against Southampton).

“We have just to look at that. On the other side, we can’t dwell too much because in 48 hours we play again. We are disappointed and frustrated, but there’s only one way to respond in 48 hours.”

Wenger rejected former England manager Glenn Hoddle’s claim that the players choked due to the pressure brought by potentially going top, so too the necessity to dip into the transfer market next month.

Wenger downplayed speculation linking Arsenal to Basel’s Mohamed Elneny and was keen to underline the quality waiting that will be at his disposal after injury.

“That’s always the question you get,” Wenger said. “We have many players who are injured and will come back soon.

“Buy, buy, buy, buy is always the solution that people see.

“I think it’s true that we couldn’t score, but we conceded goals (against Southampton) and we have enough defenders.”

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