By Nick Teale

Arsène Wenger says Andrey Arshavin is ready to respond to Russia's World Cup Qualifying Play-Off defeat to Slovenia with some solid performances for Arsenal.

Despite winning the first leg 2-1, a 1-0 defeat in Slovenia saw Guus Hiddink's side miss out on a World Cup trip to South Africa.

Arshavin is Russia's captain and Wenger chose to use him as a substitute in last weekend's defeat against Sunderland, though the forward returned to the starting line-up against Standard Liege on Tuesday night.

“He is very down," explained Wenger. "He came back from Slovenia very down and that’s the main reason I did not play him from the start against Sunderland.

"You want players to be 100 per cent focussed, play a game like it’s life or death, and it is impossible not to be down if you don’t win.

"If you care, you are down. Arshavin is Russia captain and he is 28. At the next World Cup he will be 33."

However, the Arsenal manager believes the midfielder's character will see him bounce back in style.

"He is a winner and strong mentally and when his back is to the wall he responds.”

“He is a tough boy. He is mentally okay, but he is down and is still disappointed for his country."

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27 Nov 2009