Midfielder Cesc Fabregas insists Arsenal FC are still confident of reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League despite being held to a goalless draw by AC Milan in the home leg of their first knockout round tie on Wednesday.
Off the bar
Arsenal enjoyed the bulk of possession, particularly in the second half when they applied persistent pressure to the Milan goal. Rossoneri goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac, however, was equal to everything Arsenal threw at him, and even when Emmanuel Adebayor did beat the former Australian international in the final minute, the crossbar came to his rescue.
Despite the missed chances, the 20-year-old Fabregas took heart from the performance against the European champions. "Definitely we can go there and do it," he said as he looked ahead to the second leg. "We are young but having seen what we've seen tonight we can cope with their pace and their experience and we can create chances. If we can score a goal we have a good chance to go through."
The Premier League leaders showed their character by recovering well from their 4-0 loss to Manchester United FC on Saturday and Fabregas felt they deserved more from the game. He said: "We are a little bit disappointed because I think we played quite well. After a big defeat against Manchester United we came back well, we came back strong. I think we deserved a bit more than that.
"We had a lot of chances but in football you have to take them. Hopefully we won't regret that. If we go there and play the same way, hopefully we can do it. We were playing a top side but we had more opportunities than them, more possession, we tackled well, we did everything right but in football you have to put the ball in the net and we didn't tonight."
'We will fight'
Arsenal defeated European heavyweights Juventus and Real Madrid CF to reach the final two years ago, but Fabregas concedes that the holders AC Milan are a cut above even them. He said: "They are very difficult, they have a lot of experience, they know how to play. They defend very well and are very intelligent. They never play around – if they have to kick it out they will. I think we have to be happy with the way we played tonight. It will be very difficult [at San Siro] but we will see what happens. Milan are Milan but we all want to be in the quarter-finals and we will fight for it.
'A lot of options'
"They are the hardest team we could have drawn, especially so early, but in football if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. Hopefully we will give our best again and we will do it. We missed a chance tonight but I think 0-0 is not a bad result. If we score there, they have to score two, so I think we have a lot of options if we play well."
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