By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has re-iterated that he did NOT want to go out of the FA Cup at Stoke on Sunday.

But, at the same time, he can see the upside of their exit for Arsenal's upcoming Champions League return.

The Frenchman has come in for criticism since the 3-1 defeat at the Britannia Stadium over the weekend. Wenger sent out a much-changed side and they were found wanting in the final stages when Stoke ran in two goals.

"I didn't want to go out on purpose in the FA Cup," confirmed Wenger at Tuesday's press conference. "I said at the time [Manchester United went out] it was not an advantage for the Premier League but it could be in Europe. The Fifth Round is just before the next round of the Champions League.

 "But the Stoke game was 1-1 with 12 minutes to go. It was a very tight match. We got caught on the counter-attack when we tried to win the game and that can happen. They scored a perfect second goal on the break and unfortunately that's where we lost the game. It was very tight but we fought very hard."

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26 Jan 2010