By Chris Harris
Kolo Toure declared his support for “outstanding” Kieran Gibbs after Tuesday night’s Champions League defeat.
The 19-year-old slipped as he tried to avert the danger of a Manchester United attack in the eighth minute of the Semi-Final second leg at Emirates Stadium. Ji-Sung Park stole in and beat Manuel Almunia to give the visitors a priceless away goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo's long-range free-kick effectively killed the tie moments later and Gibbs was distraught in the dressing room at half-time. Emmanuel Eboue replaced him for the second half and Toure was among those who rallied round Gibbs after the final whistle.
"Kieran was down at half-time but we talked to him and so did the manager and he is better now," revealed Toure.
"It is always difficult when you play against Man United and he is still just 19, it is his first season and he has played in big games against big teams. I think he has been outstanding this season when he has come in and he has played great, great football for us.
"A mistake can happen to anybody, it can happen to the best players."
Toure himself was reeling after a devastating exit from Europe but he believes that Arsenal deserve credit after overcoming their early-season troubles to reach the last four of the Champions League and FA Cup.
"Nobody was expecting us to be where we are and we have shown a great spirit and character with all the young players we have," he said. "We were unlucky that we played against one of the best teams in Europe.
"Manchester United were fantastic tonight. They were lucky too, their first goal was a mistake from us and the second goal as well. From then it was always going to be difficult to come back against an experienced team like that."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 6 May 2009