Quarter-final: Second leg
First leg: Arsenal 2-0 Juventus
Juventus Fabio Capello is confident his depleted side can pull off a historic comeback from their 2-0 Highbury defeat.
Without the suspended Mauro Camoranesi, Jonathan Zebina and Patrick Vieira, and the injured Alessandro del Piero, Capello remains sanguine about his team’s chances on home soil.
“We can do something exceptional,” he said.
“We will start to attack already in the tunnel while we are entering the pitch,” the coach added.
“Sometimes miracles can happen in football and we are convinced we can achieve something extraordinary – something historic – tomorrow.”
“I never regret what I don’t have,” he said. “I’m always positive and I have faith in my players and I believe we will play well.
“We must be confident because we believe we can do something exceptional. In football anything can happen.
“Our opponents are very strong but we believe we’ll do our best to turn things around.”
Juventus’ prospects have received a boost with the return from suspension of Czech schemer Pavel Nedved. The midfielder missed out on the Highbury debacle and his brand of tireless running will be vital tonight.
“Nedved has always been exceptional for us,” said Capello. “He can make a big difference in matches as the driving force of the side.
“When you have a European Footballer of the Year, he can always make a difference. Arsenal don’t give much away to our attacking players so we must create space for ourselves to score.”
Juventus have a dismal record against English opposition in recent seasons. Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have all got the better of the Italian champions, although Capello denies that his team has a problem with playing against the English.
“I don’t even think you can refer to Arsenal as an English side – take a look at their passports.
“We just need to put in a huge performance, because if we don’t, we won’t achieve our goal. But we believe in ourselves particularly because a lot of people have said we are dead and buried. We know we need to attack from the start and then we’ll see. In football anything can happen and in this case we have the belief that it will.”
Self-belief does not appear to be a problem for Arsenal. Buoyed by the 2-0 win at Highbury a fortnight ago, and fresh from a 5-0 win over Aston Villa at the weekend, Arsene Wenger’s team approach the second leg on a high.
Furthermore, both Emmanuel Eboue (groin) and Cesc Fabregas (foot), who were rated doubtful starters for tonight’s game, look to have shaken off their respective injuries.
Captain Thierry Henry anticipates a much tougher match than the first leg.
“This will be the most difficult game of our Champions League campaign,” Henry said, before acknowledging the shock factor emphasised by Capello:
“Football does reserve some surprises so we need to stay calm and we need to defend well.”
Wenger, however, believes Arsenal need to stick to their attacking guns if they are to prevail.
“We have to attack and try to win the game,” said Wenger. “We will try to defend, of course, but we have to fix our targets to play well and try to win.”
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