Fabregas defends Wenger

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The Independent Online

Cesc Fabregas has defended his manager's decision to rest several key players in their Champions League match here in Seville on Tuesday night.

Arsne Wenger left defender William Gallas and striker Emmanuel Adebayor at home and the decision backfired with Gallas' stand-in Philippe Senderos mis-hitting a clearance to gift Seville their first goal and Adebayor's presence clearly being missed as Arsenal lost 3-1.

Fabregas said: "The only team that can do something as brave as that to develop young players is Arsenal. The manager only deserves praise for it. I have also learned from defeats like that in the past when I was a younger player."

After their first defeat in 29 games and their first goals conceded in the Champions League, Arsenal must now hope Seville slip up in their last match away to Slavia Prague and that they can beat Steaua Bucharest when the sides play their final group games on 12 December.

Finishing second would mean playing the second leg of the first knock-out stage of the tournament away, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and both Milan clubs possible opponents.

Wenger stood by his decision, saying: "I don't regret taking the gamble, I wanted to expose some players to the top level and that is what I have done."

However, Fabregas could now miss his side's next three matches. He limped off in the second half holding the back of his thigh and is doubtful for Saturday's visit to Aston Villa and away games at Newcastle and Middlesbrough next week.

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