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Wenger ready for Milan challenge

sports Updated: Dec 21, 2007 22:35 IST

AFP
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Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will have no reason to fear AC Milan when they face the Champions League holders in the last 16.

The Gunners have been handed one of the toughest ties in the first knockout stage of Europe's elite club competition after Friday's draw paired them with the seven times winners.

But Wenger's side top the Premier League and the Frenchman sees no reason why they can't knock out the Serie A club.

"They have just won the Champions League, so they must have some qualities," he said. "It is a big challenge, but if you ask me 'do we have a good chance to knock them out?' I would say yes.

"We have a job to finish and we are trying to do it the hard way, but we are not responsible for the draw.

"If you want to win the Champions League you have to knock big teams out, and Milan are a very big team.

"They are the world champions, the European champions, but I believe that we can do it."

Wenger opted to send out weakened teams for Arsenal's last two group matches because they had already qualified. As a result they missed out on first place, which would have given them an easier draw, but Wenger is not concerned.

"It's going to be interesting," he said. "Can we do it? I believe we can if we play our best.

"I believe it is a good target to make us stronger in March, and that is achievable for the squad as we have a lot of young players who are improving.

"They have again shown that against Blackburn (in the quarter-finals of the League Cup), and it's an exciting time."