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Kieran Gibbs has called on his Arsenal FC team-mates to produce a perfect display in Tuesday night's round of 16 return leg against AC Milan – and at the very least restore some wounded pride following the 4-0 defeat at San Siro three weeks ago.
The 22-year-old left-back was in positive mood ahead of the game and refused to give up hope that his side can overturn the four goal deficit – in what would be one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the UEFA Champions League.
"We have to believe it, otherwise there's no point being here," Gibbs said. "
If they can beat us 4-0, then why can't we do the same? In our last home game we scored five goals. We have to really create a faultless performance and get a good balance in attacking and defending."
Gibbs, who returned to the Arsenal team in the first leg after four months out with a hernia injury, also made it clear that while he recognises that the hosts' chances of progression are slim, the match must at least be used to restore pride and reverse the painful memories suffered in Milan.
"The whole team was quite hurt by the first leg," he said. "It was a disappointing performance. You don't like to accept getting beaten 4-0 in the Champions League – especially towards this end of the tournament. But this game gives us a great opportunity to get a sense of pride back."
When pressed for the reasons behind the poor showing in Italy, Gibbs, who has made 12 appearances in Europe's premier club competition, admitted that the players had to shoulder the blame, and that it was up to them to correct the situation when the Rossoneri visit north London.
If you don't turn up on the night, with a bad performance and also not the greatest luck, then you have no chance. If you have those two combined, then you've got no chance of winning. Maybe, tactically, we decided not to play as much as we'd like to. We were desperate to get that goal, and then it played in our heads and that's why we suffered. We have to show him [manager Arsène Wenger] and the club that they don't deserve this from us as players. So we will look forward to trying to restore that pride."
As Arsenal bid to become only the fourth side in the history of UEFA competition to turn around a four-goal deficit, the young England defender can take heart from the fact Milan themselves hold the record for the biggest first-leg victory overhauled in the UEFA Champions League era – losing 4-0 at RC Deportivo La Coruña in 2003/04 having won 4-1 at home.
Meanwhile, Wenger himself said he rated his team's chances of getting through at "just 5%", but encouraged them not to fail for want of trying. "Let's make sure we do not miss our chance because we do not believe."
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