OT drubbing forgotten ahead of Milan test - Wenger

February 20, 2008

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will focus on playing their own game against European champions AC Milan tonight - and not just look to quickly exorcise the demons of their FA Cup thrashing at Manchester United.

The Gunners boss admitted the mood in the camp had been somewhat 'quiet' earlier this week following the 4-0 reverse on Saturday, when Arsenal were anything but their usual cohesive selves.

The result came as something of a shock after a run that had seen them climb to the top of the Premier League and reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

However, Wenger maintains the motivation for a positive result against the Italians tonight will be nothing more than getting back to playing Arsenal's own brand of exciting football.

'This is such a big game, such a massive task, that we can forget about Saturday,' Wenger insisted. 'Everybody is up for this game and focused on the way we want to play.'

The Arsenal boss continued: 'Sometimes you forget how good you are when you have a big disappointment. We want to continue to be guided by the way we play football more than having a reaction.

'The players will bounce back, don't worry. I'm highly confident in the quality and the mental strength of this team, and the ambition of this team. Many people have written us off from the start of the season up to now and we always responded well.'

Wenger accepts there will be little margin for error in what is now a straight knockout over two legs.

However, the Arsenal manager remains confident his young squad have both the temperament and talent to produce a result they can defend at the San Siro in a fortnight's time.

'Milan are the Champions League holders,' said Wenger. 'They have quality and experience. We are a team who can challenge them and can beat them, but we all know we need to be at our best to beat them.

'What is important is that we play without the handbrake on and go into the match with desire. We have to play free of pressure and I believe we will do that.

'We can express our talents in a game of this magnitude. I believe we will do that.'

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas maintains every one of the Arsenal players will be looking to produce a performance tonight.

He said: 'When you play against Milan, you don't need extra motivation. We have to come back and be stronger than ever. We have to realise we are not perfect - but that we have things that we need to improve, to get better.

'We have to be focused and give 100%. This is what champions are. We have to do what we've been doing throughout the season. Individually, everyone has to try and be better. That will be reflected as a team.'

Veteran German Jens Lehmann will continue in goal as Manuel Almunia battles back to fitness from a virus.