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.”