Johan Djourou admits it would be a "disaster" if Arsenal failed to reach the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, but remains confident the Gunners can deliver.
The 2-0 defeat means Arsenal have lost successive European ties after opening their Group H campaign in blistering fashion with a 6-0 romp over Braga in
However, Djourou, one of seven changes to the starting XI by Wenger, insisted the Gunners can still be confident. "If we didn't qualify, it would be a disaster," the Swiss centre-back admitted, "but we shouldn't think we are not going to qualify. We have to think positively. This defeat was a shock for everyone and we need to bounce back. "We have the players to do it, it is just how much we want it - and we do want to win a trophy."
Wenger lambasted Braga's negative tactics, with the Portuguese side, struggling in their domestic league, giving away 65% of possession, though Arsenal were unable to utilise it. However, the only statistic which really mattered was their two goals from the three shots on target. The Gunners managed just one.
"When you have so much possession, the game should have been done," Djourou said. "Theirs were silly goals, we should have avoided them."
Despite being ranked in the top eight by UEFA, Arsenal - Champions League finalists in 2006 - have a less than impressive away record, the 3-1 victory in
Nevertheless, Arsenal have still reached the quarter-finals or better in the past three seasons and have not failed to progress to the knockout stages in a decade. With Fabregas set to be sidelined for a couple of weeks, Denilson could find himself with a run in the side. The young Brazilian apologised to the travelling Gunners fans for another below-par European away performance.
"It is very disappointing and we are very sad about it. For the fans, I am very sorry for this match and the last game [Tottenham] as well," Denilson told Arsenal TV Online. "But now we have to focus on the next match [at Aston Villa], and we have to keep going to win the trophies this season, because this is very important for us.
"In the Champions League, we have one more game against Partizan at home and we can be strong because the three points are very important. If we win, then we are in a good position."
Wenger admitted his gamble on Fabregas had backfired last night, having expressed concerns about the overuse of his talisman ahead of the fixture. The FIFA World Cup™ winner had already missed five weeks of the season because of a troublesome hamstring, with a similar issue now having cropped up on the midfielder's other leg.
Fabregas will play no part in Saturday's trip to Aston Villa, or the Carling Cup quarter-final against Wigan next week and could also be in a race to be fit for the clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on 13