Arsene Wenger says Arsenal “must not feel sorry for ourselves” and refuted suggestions his side had been beaten by a young, makeshift Manchester United side.
The Gunners were beaten 3-2 at Old Trafford by a United side missing many first-team players, such as Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial.
In Martial and Rooney’s place, 18-year-old Marcus Rashford scored a first-half brace on his Premier League debut, following his double in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Two other academy graduates – Timothy Fosu-Mensah and James Weir – also came off the bench to make their debuts, while Michael Carrick was forced to play as a makeshift centre-half.
Despite that, Wenger does not believe United were significantly weakened.
Wenger added: “Let’s not go overboard – they still had a few millions on the pitch today, from De Gea to the whole of the midfield. They spent a lot of money on (Memphis) Depay – you cannot call him a player from the academy.”
Wenger admitted the defeat had dealt his side a major blow in their fight for the title but maintained the Gunners are still very much in the running as they head into Wednesday’s game against Swansea five points adrift of Leicester.
“We dropped three important points today but we have to show we are up for the fight and bounce back on Wednesday night.
“We have to not feel sorry for ourselves. Mathematically, what it means, we will only know at the end of the season.”