x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Arsene Wenger maintains positive approach to AC Milan task

The Arsenal manager has not given up on reaching the quarter-finals of the Uefa Champions League despite trailing AC Milan 4-0 going into the second leg.

Arsenal have not given up hope of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Arsenal have not given up hope of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Arsene Wengercalled on his Arsenal team to believe they can rewrite the record books and overturn AC Milan's 4-0 lead tonight to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The Gunners manager was left crestfallen in the San Siro two weeks ago, having witnessed his side taken apart by the Rossoneri, as a stunning opener from the former Tottenham midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was followed by a brace by the ex-Manchester City striker Robinho before a late penalty by Zlatan Ibrahimovic effectively ended the tie as a contest.

The Frenchman said: "I said I don't live in a dream world - that means I know we have not created an easy situation, but when you are a top-level competitor, even if statistically we have a five per cent chance, what is important is that we believe that we can be in this five per cent chance. That is what is at stake for us - to show that we have the quality to believe we can do it, even if it is only five per cent.

"Let us make sure that we do not miss our chance because we did not believe in it."

Only three clubs have recovered from such a first-leg deficit in the history of European competitions, but those were back in the mid-1980s.

Milan, though, somehow managed to go out to Deportivo La Coruna in the 2003/04 quarter-finals having won 4-1 at home, losing the second leg in Spain 4-0.

Arsenal are short of options in midfield, with their Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky facing a late fitness test on a groin problem and Mikel Arteta needing to rest for a week after suffering a blow to the head in a collision with Jordan Henderson during Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win at Liverpool.

Wenger said: "We lost 4-0 at Milan, but they had five shots on target and we had 55 per cent possession there and we didn't play well at all. If they can score four we can as well, why not?

"It is important that we believe we can do it. Your belief is stronger when your recent results have been good."

Djamal Mesbah, the AC Milan left-back, expects the Serie A league leaders should comfortably secure their last eight spot.

"We have a good lead and we're confident," he said. "Arsenal can be devastating at home but if we play like we can we can make it without problems."