By Rob Kelly

Arsène Wenger insists his current squad is among the most serious and focused of his 16-year reign at Arsenal.

The Gunners have been heavily criticised after they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by League Two Bradford on Tuesday night.

Wenger says his players are “hurt” by their setback at the Coral Windows Stadium, but believes they have the quality to bounce back.

“I’ve had groups who had fantastic results [but] were less serious than these players, believe me,” the manager said. “Players who were less focused than this team. Of course these players are hurting.

“You think they don’t care and they go home and think they had a fantastic game? They do care.

“We prepare for games seriously. It was a cup game on an English December night in Bradford. You have to give Bradford credit.

“Unfortunately we paid the price - they knocked Wigan out as well. That shows they have something and that they are difficult to beat.

“We put ourselves in a more difficult situation when we were 1-0 down. We got off the hook with 1-1 and we should have made the difference with 30 minutes [of extra time] to play.”

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14 Dec 2012