Fabregas not fazed by Barca clash

BY foxsports • March 22, 2010

Cesc Fabregas says Arsenal would have to face Barcelona sooner or later if they are to fulfil their dream of becoming European champions.

The Premier League title chasers were handed a tough draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League against the holders and competition favourites, who beat Arsenal in the 2006 final.

The tie certainly captures the imagination as former captain Thierry Henry will face his old club for the first time since heading to the Nou Camp three years ago while Fabregas, 22, is set to line up against the team with which he was once a trainee.

It is, though, on the pitch where Arsenal's European credentials will be stretched to the limit by the likes of brilliant Argentinian Lionel Messi, Spain international Xavi and Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Indeed, should the Gunners, who must play the second leg in Spain, progress, then the prospect of a clash against Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan could be on the cards.

Fabregas, though, maintained: "If you want to win this competition, you have to beat everyone who is coming.

"If we had been drawn against Bordeaux or Lyon we would have taken it the same way.

"Barcelona is a great team, but we always go with the same mentality and that is to win."

Fabregas continued: "We are going to play against the best team in Europe, probably in the world.

"The boys are really looking forward to it as it is another opportunity to play against a great team in a great stadium. It will be very exciting."

Wenger, meanwhile, insists he has no intention of letting any of his players get carried away in the pre-match hype - feeling his team were a "bit distracted by all the fuss about the draw" when only showing patches of their true form during the 2-0 win over West Ham on Saturday.

Fabregas also maintains Arsenal must focus on going into the European game on the back of consistent domestic form as they aim to sustain a title challenge.

"At the moment we have won nothing," the Spain international declared.

"We are not thinking about being champions. We are only thinking about Birmingham next week.

"There is a lot of time to think about Barcelona.

"Our first priority is Birmingham and that it is the sign of champions, taking things game by game."

Fabregas marked his return to action following a hamstring problem with a second-half penalty, his 18th goal of the season, to settle any nerves as the 10-man Gunners saw off West Ham.

"I hated being out for two weeks," said the Arsenal captain.

"I wanted to come back, but I was a little concerned in the first half to see how the hamstring was.

"People who say we are a different team without me are completely wrong.

"I have missed five Premier League games and except Everton, where we drew, we have won all the games. It is a strong squad and anyone can play at any moment."

The Gunners skipper added: "A lot of people thought we would be in the position of Liverpool in terms of fighting for fourth spot, but I was definitely not one of those people.

"I have always said if I don't believe I can win something, I wouldn't play football.

"I play football to win and enjoy - and that is what I am doing here."