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Mikel Arteta praises Arsenal's fighting spirit after Liverpool draw

Mikel Arteta praised his Arsenal players for showing "fight" as they held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final.

The Gunners played over an hour of the match with 10 men after Granit Xhaka's red card but the stalemate means it is all to play for in next week's second leg - and Arteta was delighted with the spirit shown by his team.

The Spanish coach told Sky Sports: "We revel against the situation. The players showed great fight, determination, brotherhood. You saw the emotion, we never gave up. Credit to the boys.

"I don’t know if the red card inspired them but it took the fight. You need a certain attitude to play in these games and the boys did that. We played the game we had to play, which is not our game. I have not seen it back, they checked it so probably a red card."

Xhaka's dismissal is another headache for Arteta as he prepares for this weekend's derby game against Tottenham with a depleted squad but the manager has faith in the players that are available.

He said: “To plan with the numbers we have, we don’t have any midfielders, becomes really complicated, because whatever we do is not natural.

"The extra motivation to play a derby [at Tottenham on Sunday] brings the energy when you don’t have it. No excuses, we have to play it."

Gunners defender Ben White says the team "deserved" the draw and wants Arsenal to take the character going forward.

He said: "It was not an ideal start but there is so much fight in this team. It’s hard enough coming here with eleven men, absolutely superb from everyone.

"You have to concentrate the whole game and the result is well deserved. It’s nice to defend like that as a defender. We were confident coming here and will give our all in the next game."

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