Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Arsenal will bounce back, says Fabregas

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Stephen Carr of Birmingham City lifts the trophy after victory during the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Alex McLeish, Manager of Birmingham City celebrates victory during the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Birmingham City's Obafemi Martins celebrates scoring the winner during the Carling Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Samir Nasri of Arsenal fails to stop a header by Nikola Zigic of Birmingham City during the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Former Sex Pistol John Lydon (C) cheers during the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Birmingham City goalkeeper Ben Foster celebrates with his man of the match trophy after the Carling Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Sebastian Larsson of Birmingham City celebrates with the trophy after the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal holds his head in despair after the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Alex McLeish (L), Manager of Birmingham City celebrates victory after the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal looks dejected during the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Craig Gardner of Birmingham City celebrates with the trophy after the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Stephen Carr of Birmingham City celebrates victory after the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Stephen Carr of Birmingham City celebrates with team mates after the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Nikola Zigic of Birmingham City heads the opening goal during the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Obafemi Martins of Birmingham City celebrates with Nikola Zigic (R) and Craig Gardner (L) after the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal looks dejected after a defensive mistake leading to the Birmingham City winning goal during the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Alex McLeish, Manager of Birmingham City celebrates with the trophy after the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Birmingham City players celebrate victory after the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Downbeat Arsenal players today issued a mass apology for their Carling Cup final failure against Birmingham.

Sorry messages were issued to fans by striker Robin van Persie, midfielders Jack Wilshere and Sami Nasri and defender Bacary Sagna.

But defiant Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas today urged his team-mates to focus on the “great targets” still ahead of them after the bitter disappointment of yesterday’s 2-1 defeat at Wembley which leaves the Gunners still searching for their first piece of silverware since 2005.

Fabregas and England winger Theo Walcott were ruled out by injury. But the Spanish World Cup winner insisted there would be more to come from Arsene Wenger's young squad who tackle Leyton Orient in their FA Cup fifth-round replay at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night, are second in the Premier League and will take a 2-1 lead to Barcelona for the second leg of their Champions League tie on March 8.

Congratulating Birmingham, Fabregas said: “This team has great potential and there are still great targets to play for this season. Thanks for your support.”

In more bad news for Arsenal, a knee injury to their Wembley scorer van Persie could see him miss the Barcelona game.

The Dutchman apologised to Arsenal fans after the team again failed to deliver on the big stage.

“I am very sorry that we could not bring Cup back to north London,” he said.

Nasri added: “It is a massive blow, but we have to look forward to Wednesday's FA Cup game and we still have three competitions, so chin up.”

Wilshere admitted: “It hurts a lot: All I can say is sorry to the fans.” Sagna simply said: “I just feel ashamed. Sorry.”

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