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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona 3 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Apr 5, 2006

Wenger urges Gunners to play without fear

Arsene Wenger has called on his Arsenal side to invoke the spirit of Madrid as they aim to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League against Juventus tonight.

Goals from Cesc Fabregas and captain Thierry Henry during the first leg at Highbury put the Gunners in the driving seat to add the Serie A leaders to their collection of European scalps.

Wenger, though, knows the job is only half done and that his young team must retain focus all through the match if they are to progress.

'We must not be scared to play,' the Arsenal manager declared.

'We have to find the right mixture - defend well yet not only defend but get forward where we can. That is a similar problem we faced with Real Madrid.'

Wenger continued: 'We played two good games against Real Madrid. We are now in a similar position.

'We did not lose it in the second game with Real Madrid, but we were not intimidated, we did not lose our game.'

Teenager Fabregas has shaken off a bruised foot to travel to Turin.

Wenger, though, is wary of the talented youngster being put in the spotlight once again.

The Arsenal boss said: 'Cesc, like any other player, benefited a lot from team play [in the first leg], and so our focus will be more than on Cesc.

'It will be to have the whole team playing again with the same determined attitude and with the same spirit. Then, of course, the individual player will come good.'

Wenger added: 'Cesc is a guy who is not intimidated by big games.

'He has the talent, so there are good ingredients there.'

Arsenal have conceded only two goals in Europe this season, while Juve have struggled of late to find the back of the net, drawing their last Serie A match 0-0 with bottom club Treviso.

Despite his men holding a strong advantage gained against a distinctly below-par Juve side at Highbury last week, Wenger is not anticipating a warm welcome from the Italians on the pitch at the Stadio delle Alpi tonight.

'I expect them to try to score early and go a little bit British-style from the start, that is quite direct and try to put us under pressure,' he said.

'They might try to score early on and to put us under pressure.

'I believe that will suit us, to defend well as a team, but not to hide.

'We have to be positive and try to win the game.'

However, Wenger insisted: 'With the experienced side we face, no matter what happens we will have to be fully focused for 90 minutes.'

Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has called on his team-mates to make sure they finish the job and progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time.

'We had a good game against Juve in the first leg - but we have said many times before that we need to have two good games,' he reflected.

'The most important thing is to go through, we do not really care that much about the result.

'Obviously it gives us some belief in ourselves and our quality.'

Lehmann added: 'We have shown we are still progressing and, of course, we hope to have gone further by tomorrow night.'