Cesc cautious over Braga threat

BY foxsports • November 20, 2010

Arsene Wenger's side swept through their opening three European fixtures as the Portuguese debutants were thrashed 6-0 at Emirates Stadium on September 15 with Partizan Belgrade beaten in Serbia and Shakhtar Donetsk then thumped 5-1. However, the Premier League club were handed a reality check following their 2-1 defeat in Ukraine a fortnight ago, with former Arsenal striker Eduardo netting what proved to be the winning goal. Wenger felt his team, without their then-injured skipper, had been a touch complacent in the Donbass Arena as they contrived to throw away an early lead after a fine effort on the break from Theo Walcott. Fabregas insists lessons have been learned as Arsenal aim to get a positive result in Portugal against the team which knocked Celtic and then Sevilla out of the qualifiers - and whom also still have a realistic chance of qualifying themselves. "We have two games left in the group, both difficult, especially the one away to Braga - but we will try to win the group," said the Spain international. "We will do our best and if we play the football we know, focus 100% and don't treat the opponents softly, then I am sure we can win the group." Fabregas warned against making the same mistakes from the last European away trip. "Playing in their own stadium, in front of their own fans, we knew Shakhtar would be a different team to the one we faced at the Emirates last month, and to be fair to them, I thought they played well," the Arsenal captain said. "But it was down to us, it was our fault, we let them back into the game. "We had to retain possession better and control the game, but we didn't and in the end, we paid for that. "The manager said the same after the game - once we were ahead, we took the game too easily. "We had just scored five against them, we are top of the group and maybe we were thinking that a draw would be a good result. "But in football, you can never be complacent, you can never switch off, otherwise you will pay for it, whoever you play against." Wenger will leave his squad all too aware of the need to maintain 100% focus in Portugal. "It is very important that we do not repeat the performance in Donetsk," Wenger wrote in his programme notes for this afternoon's Barclays Premier League clash against Tottenham. "We need to produce a performance that allows us to get the points to qualify, but I also want to win the game as that gives us the possibility to finish the group stages very strongly, that is our target - we are ambitious to win the group." Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has been out of action since the shock home defeat by West Brom on September 25 because of an elbow problem. However the veteran Spaniard is closing in on a return to action and could be back in the squad for Tuesday's European tie. Lukasz Fabianski has proved his critics wrong with some impressive displays while standing in once more and Wenger faces something of a selection poser. The 25-year-old Pole, though, intends to take things as they come. He said: "I just want to keep working hard and keep playing as best as I can. "It is not only with me, every player is like that - if he plays regularly his confidence grows and he feels more comfortable on the pitch."


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