SV Werder Bremen striker Marko Arnautović called on his side to build on their terrific 3-0 win over holders FC Internazionale Milano as they bowed out of European competition on a high.
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Forward Marko Arnautović told UEFA.com that SV Werder Bremen must reproduce the sparkling form that undid FC Internazionale Milano if they are to salvage their flagging domestic season.
Thomas Schaaf's men showed glimpses of the talent that took them to a third-place finish in Germany last term in beating the European champions 3-0 on Tuesday in UEFA Champions League Group A to end an otherwise disappointing group stage in style.
It was only their fifth win in 20 matches in all competitions, and with his team trailing the Bundesliga's top three by ten points, Arnautović believes Bremen have to use the momentum of their continental success to kick-start their league challenge.
"It's a really important result for us," said the Austrian international, whose superb second-half strike was sandwiched in between goals from Sebastian Prödl and Claudio Pizarro. "We were the better side over the 90 minutes. We've regained a lot of self-confidence today, and we now have to reproduce this kind of performance in the future."
The victory gave Bremen a first maximum haul in Group A, yet could not prevent them ending up at the foot of the section; the revamped Weserstadion will not stage European football after Christmas for the first time since 2004. "We showed today we could have done more in the Champions League," acknowledged Arnautović. "We're going to have to live with the fact we're out. We now have to prove our qualities in the Bundesliga."
Team-mate Clemens Fritz echoed those sentiments, saying: "It would have been better to have reached the next round, but I think we played well." The defender, who was celebrating his 30th birthday, added: "We wanted to give ourselves some stability and we did that. We ran a lot, everyone dug deep for everyone else, and finally we took our goalscoring opportunities. I hope that will continue against Dortmund."
While the runaway Bundesliga leaders will provide a stiff test of Bremen's renaissance this weekend, Internazionale, who missed out on top spot because of the defeat, have the FIFA Club World Cup next before turning their attentions back to the UEFA Champions League in 2011. Coach Rafael Benítez was without a number of key players in Germany, most of whom should return for the knockout stage.
Despite the Nerazzurri sporting a slightly unfamiliar face, however, Arnautović was adamant it did not detract from the victory. "That's no excuse for Inter," said the 21-year-old, who spent last season on loan at the Serie A champions. "If you play for Inter, you're a good player. They played badly, we played well."