LONDON — Arsene Wenger has called on his Arsenal side to bounce back from their humiliating FA Cup defeat by Blackburn when they face Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Boyhood Arsenal fan Colin Kazim-Richards’s second half goal sealed an unexpected 1-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday that sent second-tier Blackburn into the FA Cup quarter-
finals 72 hours before Bayern arrive in north London for the first leg of their last 16 tie.
Arsenal must now overcome German giants Bayern, last season’s losing Champions League finalists, if they are to have any hope of ending their eight-year wait for a major trophy with the Gunners a massive 21 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester United.
“It’s a good opportunity to show we have character, and that we are men who can fight for each other in our next game,” said Arsenal manager Wenger as he tried to rally his players. “That’s all we can do.
“It’s about showing how strong and good we are in our next game. If we feel sorry for ourselves, we’d be completely wrong,” the Frenchman added.
“We have a massive game on Tuesday (tomorrow) night and we have to show some response.”
Defeat by Blackburn marked the first time Arsenal had been beaten by a lower league side in the FA Cup since Wenger took charge in 1996.
And it came after another loss to a team below the Premier League — fourth-tier Bradford — sent the Gunners crashing out of the League Cup earlier this season.
“This has happened to many teams this season against lower league teams,” said Wenger.
“We were not good enough to win the game today (Saturday), simple as that.
“It is very painful and disappointing to lose a game like that, but what is important now is to get that behind us and focus on the next one.
“We had enough chances to win and we didn’t. We lacked ruthlessness in front of goal, didn’t make enough of our corners, and we were vulnerable to one mistake.”
Wenger insisted he did not regret leaving the likes of Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla on the bench, pointing out he fielded a side packed with internationals.
And the manager denied the defeats by Blackburn and Bradford indicated his side were in decline.
“I’ll leave the definite thinking to others, football is much more unpredictable than that,” Wenger said.