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Gunners keen to move on from Cup failure

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis believes the club must move on quickly from the disappointment of their Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham.

The Gunners had been hot favourites to end a six-year trophy drought in the Wembley showdown on Sunday.

But goals from Nikola Zigic and Obafemi Martins – the latter after a horribly blunder between Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and centre back Laurent Koscielny – handed Birmingham the cup with a 2-1 win.

With Arsenal sitting in second place in the English Premier League, playing Leyton Orient in an FA Cup fifth-round replay on Wednesday, and facing a trip to Barcelona for a Champions League round-of-16 second-leg match on March 8, Gazidis said the side must refocus quickly.

“Of course we are all desperately disappointed. We were hoping we would do better yesterday, but the important thing now is how we react to that,” he said.

“We’ve got an awful lot to play for this season. Every time we’ve had a setback along the way we’ve actually responded very, very well.”

“And we will be looking for that from our players on Wednesday night against Leyton Orient, back into the Premier League and of course Barcelona next week.”

Despite reporting a loss of 2.5 million pounds in their half-yearly accounts, Gazidis insists the future is bright at the Emirates.

“We continue to be in a healthy financial position and the club, as you know, is run on a self-sustaining basis and these results continue to show long term sustainability and health, so there are some real positives,” Gazidis said.

“There are some one-offs that we don’t have this year that we did have last year. Last year we had some tremendous numbers pushed by property sales and also the sales of a couple of big players.”

“This year we don’t have those one-offs. Rather than seeing players leave, we have actually invested in the squad. So you expect to see a little bit of a change in the numbers but it’s still very healthy and robust looking forward.”

And Gazidis believes the relative youth of the Arsenal squad is a sure sign the club’s barren run in the trophy room will soon be over.

“We’ve got a very young team. Average age against Barcelona was just 23 years old,” he said.

“And what we are focused on is making sure that we keep the key talents in that team together and signing them to long term contracts. So there’s been a significant investment on the field.”

Mon 28 Feb, 2011
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