The British football fraternity values a team's response to defeat so much that, a few years ago, they invented a new word for it - bouncebackability.

Arsène Wenger failed to use the term at his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight's Champions League tie with Milan. But he should have done.

It would have saved him a few words of explanation when he was asked how his side would deal with that 4-0 humbling at Old Trafford on Saturday.

"Yeah, it's difficult and surprising," said the Arsenal manager when asked to recall the mauling at Manchester United. "But, overall, if you look at the games we lost this season: at Sevilla, we had already qualified; at Tottenham we were half-here, half-there, and at Man. United too. But I feel as well that Man United gave a top-class performance on Saturday and we were swept away. It can happen.

"They will bounce back, don't worry. I'm highly confident in the quality, the mental strength and the ambition of this team. Many people have written us off from the start of the season up to now and we have always responded well."
Just under 12 months ago, Arsenal tumbled out of three Cup competitions in the space of 13 days to leave them with the rarity of a mundane run-in. There is the fear of a domino effect once again however one of the main differences between Arsenal 06/07 and Arsenal 07/08 is their ability to respond to a loss. Wenger's men have followed each of their three defeats this season with a victory.

"Last year I feel the game against Chelsea in the Carling Cup Final created a big upset because we lost straight away three days later in the FA Cup," he said. "But we were without some players then.

"And last year we were in a much worse position in the Premier League, so we had to say 'listen, let's save what can be saved.'

"This year is completely different because we are attracted by two fantastic competitions. We are in a very good position."

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20 Feb 2008