Wenger: We shone under pressure
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger praised his young players for their battling spirit and ability to cope under pressure after the Gunners defeated West Brom on penalties at the Hawthorns in the Capital One Cup third round.
Wenger's first XI for the contest featured nine adjustments from Sunday's Barclays Premier League win over Stoke and several players inexperienced at senior level.
One of those, 20-year-old first-time starter Thomas Eisfeld, opened the scoring in the 61st minute with a slotted finish before Saido Berahino headed a 71st-minute equaliser.
The contest finished 1-1 after 120 minutes, with Albion substitute Morgan Amalfitano having hit the bar in a strong conclusion to extra time for the hosts.
The Baggies then initially had the advantage on penalties after Serge Gnabry's effort was saved, but fellow Arsenal teenagers Kris Olsson and Chuba Akpom subsequently netted theirs and Craig Dawson and Amalfitano missed for West Brom, allowing Nacho Monreal to seal a 4-3 shoot-out triumph for the visitors.
Wenger - whose team host Chelsea in round four - said: "I am proud. We played with many young players and they showed they are not only good footballers but that they can fight as well.
"I decided to go for young players with the penalties and they coped well with the pressure.
"Of course, penalties are a bit of a lottery, but overall I think the most important thing is that we played well in the game and that the young players came out and showed that they can play the way we want to.
"It is always good to know that you can win even when you thought you were dead and tired.
"If you dig deep and in the end you are rewarded, that is a very important lesson for a young player.
"We kept going forward and trying to win the game until the end and that is very positive."
Arsenal had Nicklas Bendtner spearheading their attack from the start in what was his first Gunners appearance since August 2011.
On Bendtner, who provided the through ball for Eisfeld's goal, Wenger said: "I thought overall, he had a good game.
"For a guy who has not played for such a long time, and on his own up front, he did very well."
In extra time, Bendtner was through on goal but had the ball taken away from him by a superb Dawson challenge.
Asked about that incident, Wenger said: "What happened to him is what happens to many strikers when they have too much time to score - they wait and wait, and wait for too long. But overall, I thought his game was positive.
"I believe for Nicklas, the most important thing for him is to stay fit. As for the rest, he has the talent - you know that."
West Brom made eight changes to their starting line-up from their Premier League win over Sunderland and Albion's joint-assistant head coach Kevin Keen felt the team had performed well.
"I think over the 90 minutes we probably just about shaded it and over the 120 we definitely shaded it," Keen said.
"So to come away without going through to the next round is rather deflating - and the lads are disappointed.
"But we have to pick ourselves up and get ready for Old Trafford (the Premier League clash with Manchester United) on Saturday.
"There were some fantastic performances that are a big, big plus.
"But overall we're disappointed because we're out of the League Cup for another season."
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