Campbell ruled out of return date with Real

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The Independent Online

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, said yesterday that his England defender Sol Campbell would not recover from his ankle injury in time for the Champions' League return leg against Real Madrid on 8 March.

Ashley Cole is not going to rush his return either. "I will come back when I do not feel the injury," Cole said. "If I come back too soon it could go again and I will be out even longer."

Wenger believes Tuesday's 1-0 win at Real Madrid will inspire his side to overhaul local rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the fourth Champions' League spot.

"I cannot say to the players, 'OK, let's qualify for the Uefa Cup'," said Wenger yesterday. "We are only five points behind Tottenham with a game in hand and we have still to play them at home. We have a good chance. Why should we consider a catastrophic scenario? I believe we are turning it around well enough and early enough to still get in the Champions' League next season," said the Frenchman. "It will give the players a needed boost."

Wenger said his young players had been affected by Arsenal's poor form. "For months, no matter how good we play, there have been no good words about us. When you are 19, 20, that weighs on your mind."

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