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Henry lauds Arsenal young guns

Published: Wednesday 22 February 2006, 10.53CET
Thierry Henry said the key to victory at Real Madrid CF was not his wonderful winner but the "tremendous" performances of Arsenal FC's youngsters.
by Andrew Haslam
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Published: Wednesday 22 February 2006, 10.53CET

Henry lauds Arsenal young guns

Thierry Henry said the key to victory at Real Madrid CF was not his wonderful winner but the "tremendous" performances of Arsenal FC's youngsters.
Thierry Henry is urging caution despite scoring an outstanding individual goal that earned Arsenal FC a memorable victory at Real Madrid CF in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie.

Individual brilliance
The French international registered the only goal at the Santiago Bernabéu with less than two minutes played of the second half, leaving three Madrid defenders trailing in his wake before firing low past Iker Casillas. The slender but precious advantage notwithstanding, Henry was quick to remind his team-mates of the task that still lies ahead. "Of course it was special when I scored, but I hope it's going to be even more special after the second game at Highbury," he said. "So far, we haven't done anything.

Calming influence
"We know Madrid have an amazing team who are capable of turning things around so we need to prepare for this and see what we can do at home. When I scored I was really happy and I could see that everyone was getting all excited and I reminded them that we still had a game to finish, but I'm really happy with the result. It's a team win - when you're the goalscorer people notice you more, but bad game or good game, I need my team to play well and here everyone did."

Youthful exuberance
A catalogue of injuries forced the English side to field a youthful lineup but Arsène Wenger's team held firm in the face of concerted Madrid pressure, leaving Henry to pay tribute to his less experienced colleagues. "The youngsters in the team played tremendously well," he said. "One of the most important things is that they were not scared to play. In big games, you get to see where people are and I think today they showed great composure.

Ball retention
"When you play away from home you have to keep the ball and try to go forward when you can, and we certainly did that," Henry added. Indeed, such was the nature of Arsenal's display that they might have taken an even greater advantage back to Highbury were it not for some exceptional goalkeeping from Casillas, although Henry believes his side have already done all that can be expected of them. He concluded: "Of course we had chances to win by more but let's not be greedy."

Last updated: 22/02/06 10.37CET

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