Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wenger - forget Thierry's return, "Fabregas is a winner"

Arsene Wenger is adamant that Barcelona defeat was the worst in his
illustrious managerial career.

The manager refused to compare Fabregas and Messi, concluding that
"Fabregas and Messi are completely different players."

The boss maintained that Arsenal's machinery is in perfect condition to
help him assuage his feelings by giving the team from Spain a dose of
their medicine.
He was under no illusion, when he urged Arsenal and the fans to
temporarily forget the love and compassion they have for their
darling Thierry Henry, when he makes his emotional return to the
Emirates: "Henry had a fantastic time at Arsenal, and we are forever
grateful," said Wenger.

"But on the day, you think really we will be focused on how Thierry
Henry will feel on the day? We will be focused on our game. The rest
will be disrespectful."

Promininent on the gaffer's to-do-list is revenge - he doesn't care if it is
at home/away, the bottom-line is we must advance to the Semis at the
expense of the Catalan giants.

Wenger who blamed the referee for our defeat to Barcelona at the
Champions League final four years ago, is still defiant that the
referee made a mistake by sending off Jens Lehmann: "When a referee
makes a decision like that he has to be absolutely sure," he said.

"You cannot kill a final that one billion people watch. Yes, we have
regrets. I do not say we could not win the game. Thierry had two good
chances. But it was not the game that everybody expected on the day.

"We had a fantastic season in the Champions League, we only lost one
game and that was the final, in the whole season. The game was not
there. Eleven against 11, it would have been a fantastic game."

The manager admits that Pires has refused to forgive his decision to
substitute him on that fateful night, albeit the gaffer recognises the
decision as a mistake and he's amazed at how vivid memories of the
night and past events were on his mind.

"Then we had to take Pires off, and he still hates me today! We took a
great player out who could have added to the quality of the game.

"You never forget completely about the game and in a Champions League
final you know you will not get back there necessarily the next year.
You never forget it, but you have to focus on what is in front of you
in this job.

"I did an interview recently about ten years at Arsenal. I was
surprised at how much I remembered from every single disappointment. I
thought I had forgotten but evey little detail came out in my head."

Arsene believes that Fabregas and Messi are both unique in different
ways, and he insists that Fabregas as a professional won't give in to
emotions easily when he faces his former club.

"Fabregas and Messi are completely different players. What is
interesting is that they played together in the youth team.

"When I spoke with Fabregas's mother when she brought him here at 16,
she said they always won 6-0, 7-0, 8-0, or 9-0 because Pique, Fabregas
and Messi played in the same team.

"There will certainly be some emotion there but Fabregas is a winner,
he wants first to qualify. I believe Cesc goes out every single game
to win it - if it is Barcelona or someone else, he will just want to

"Actually we owe Barcelona one - if that's the word. We'll be up for
it, and are looking to get a couple of decent results."