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Published: 18:43 | 18/10/17

Wenger hits back at Deeney jibe

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger defends his players after Watford striker Troy Deeney questioned their strength of character.

The Gunners let slip a 1-0 lead at Vicarage Road on Saturday as Deeney came off the bench to equalise from the penalty sport before Tom Cleverley struck a stoppage time winner for the Hornets.

The North London side, who next turn their attention to Thursday's Europa League game at Red Star Belgrade, which is live on BT Sport 2 [kick off 8.05pm], have now lost three of their eight Premier League fixtures and are already trailing leaders Manchester City by nine points.

Speaking on BT Sport after the game on Saturday evening, Deeney said: "Whenever I play Arsenal and this is just personal, I go up and I think let me whack the first one, let’s see who wants it.

"I came on today and jumped with [Per] Mertesacker. I didn't even have to jump, actually. I nodded it down. The crowd gets up. 'Yeah, we've got somebody who can win it' - and they all just backed off."

Asked on Wednesday if the accusation was hurtful, Wenger said: "Yes but I know who my players really are. 

"In the last seven games we had six wins and one draw. Comments are part of the modern game. I love my players and I trust their strength of character to respond.

"You can’t question our character. People try and put us down, they always have. 

"Those comments aren’t justified."

Image: Getty/ David Rogers

You can watch all of Arsenal's Europa League Group H campaign with the Gunners travelling to meet Serbian side Red Star Belgrade on Thursday, 19 October, a match which will be shown live on BT Sport 2 [kick-off 6.00pm].

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