Fabregas dismisses age issue

CESC FABREGAS insists Arsenal’s young Gunners cannot use age as an excuse should they fail to deliver a trophy this season.

Manager Arsene Wenger has long championed the potential of his young side, and believes their time will come, reflecting after defeat at Stamford Bridge: “Chelsea are more experienced – they are 29, we are 23.”

But Fabregas, 22, feels Arsenal must show their maturity sooner rather than later.

“As a team, we need to be stronger,” the Arsenal captain declared “We can’t hide behind people saying we are too young or we have injuries. We just have to compete. People say you must learn from your mistakes, but you learn how to play football when you are 12, 13, 14, 15. You don’t learn these things when you are 25.

“Of course, you can still improve, always improve, but the basics must be there. If you play for Arsenal, it is because you have to have these attributes. That is why I do not believe age is an excuse.”

Fabregas continued: “In the past few years, we have been doing very well, but whenever it comes to important moments, maybe we haven’t been up where we need to be.

“We have always tried to play our football, but the goals we have conceded lately have come from defensive mistakes.

Wenger maintains Arsenal – whose fixture list looks somewhat less daunting from now on – are still very much in the hunt.

“The teams who are six points behind us will not give up, so why should we give up if we are six points behind the leader? It would be absolutely crazy,” the Gunners boss declared.

“For all pundits, this league is very difficult to predict – but anybody can be wrong. It is more open than ever and very exciting as well. For us, it is important to keep the belief and resurrect our hopes, so let’s go on now and be consistent.”

Andrey Arshavin has admitted he is set to miss Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Porto.

The diminutive forward is struggling with a hamstring injury he picked up in the win over Liverpool.

Arshavin had a scan on the injury on Thursday and although the injury is not thought to be serious the Russian expects to miss the trip to Portugal.

However, Arshavin is hoping to be back in time for the league meeting with Sunderland next Saturday.

“If all goes well, I get back on the pitch as early as the Sunderland match,” he said. “However, the next game against Porto in the Champions League I will miss.”


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