Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger praises Doncaster Rovers and expects them to stabilise in League One

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was impressed with Rovers' quality, fitness and mental strength.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was impressed with Rovers' quality, fitness and mental strength.

Arsene Wenger had plenty of praise for Doncaster Rovers after they gave his Arsenal side a run for their money in the Carabao Cup.

The Frenchman, who has managed the Gunners since 1996, admitted to being taken by surprise by the quality Doncaster showed during their 1-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

Wenger was also impressed with the fitness levels and mental strength that Rovers displayed against star-studded opposition, as they refused to allow the home side an easy passage into the fourth round.

And he reckons Darren Ferguson’s side, who sit 19th in League One after eight games, have too much about them to end up in a relegation scrap this season.

“I would say they played very well,” said Wenger, who has guided Arsenal to three Premier League title and seven FA Cup wins.

“This is what has changed in the lower divisions - first of all everybody is super fit.

“There is absolute total fitness.

“They were well organised, they came and gave us a tough time.

“They never showed any weakness mentally and they kept going until the end.

“They could have a scored a goal as well.

“I must say I was surprised by their quality and their level.

“They shouldn’t be too concerned about staying in their league.

“They need to adapt because they just came up but they have enough to stay in the league for me.”

Ferguson, although disappointed his side failed make their pressure count, welcomed Wenger’s positive feedback.

“I think you could see that Arsenal knew they were in a game,” he said.

“Certainly speaking to Arsene after the game he was very complimentary of us, which is always nice.”

Meanwhile, Liam Mandeville is a slight doubt for this weekend after picking up a knock at the Emirates.

Will Longbottom is expected to be out for a lengthy period after suffering ankle ligament damage while on loan at Kidderminster.