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Arsenal boss Wenger: I rushed back Van Persie too soon

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger accepts it was a "mistake" to rush striker Robin van Persie back into action too soon.

The 24-year-old striker is set to return for rehabilitation in his native Holland as he recovers from a thigh problem - the latest fitness setback of what has been an injury-plagued season.

Wenger brought the forward back into the side for the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium on January 9, but substituted him at the interval.

Following a bout of 'flu, medical tests have revealed a "little recurrence" of Van Persie's thigh injury, which will see him spend probably the best part of a month on the sidelines once again, and possibly become a doubt for the Champions League clash with AC Milan on February 20.

"We do not think it will be a long-term problem," said the Arsenal manager.

"Maybe we made a mistake to play him in the Carling Cup, because we wanted to rush him a little bit back after the muscular problems and were not cautious enough maybe on the night.

"This time we will have to be very patient."

Wenger added: "When a player has waited for so long and is ready to play, you are under pressure a bit from him as well because he feels he can play.

"Also, when you have been out for a few months, you need some games to get back to your best. You want to give him those games as soon as possible.

"At the end of the day, I do not feel we made the right decision to play him on the night." Kevin Keegan is looking to another former Liverpool striking legend to fire Newcastle United to success.

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Tribal Football Staff

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